Is The Allergen Really Needed in Allergy Immunotherapy?
Kündig TM., Klimek L., Schendzielorz P., Renner WA., Senti G., Bachmann MF.
Immunotherapy for type I allergies is well established and is regarded to be the most efficient treatment option besides allergen avoidance. As of today, different forms of allergen preparations are used in this regard, as well as different routes of application. Virus-like particles (VLPs) represent a potent vaccine platform with proven immunogenicity and clinical efficacy. The addition of toll-like receptor ligands and/or depot-forming adjuvants further enhances activation of innate as well as adaptive immune responses. CpG motifs represent intensively investigated and potent direct stimulators of plasmacytoid dendritic cells and B cells, while T cell responses are enhanced indirectly through increased antigen presentation and cytokine release. This article will focus on the function of VLPs loaded with DNA rich in nonmethylated CG motifs (CpGs) and the clinical experience gained in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, demonstrating clinical efficacy also if administered without allergens. Several published studies have demonstrated a beneficial impact on allergic symptoms by treatment with CpG-loaded VLPs. Subcutaneous injection of VLPs loaded with CpGs was tested with or without the adjuvant alum in the presence or absence of an allergen. The results encourage further investigation of VLPs and CpG motifs in immunotherapy, either as a stand-alone product or as adjuvants for allergen-specific immunotherapy.