Virus-like particles (VLP) in prophylaxis and immunotherapy of allergic diseases.
Klimek L., Kündig T., Kramer MF., Guethoff S., Jensen-Jarolim E., Schmidt-Weber CB., Palomares O., Mohsen MO., Jakob T., Bachmann M.
Background: Apart from active allergen avoidance, immunotherapy is regarded as the most effective form of treatment available for type I allergies. Such treatments involve the administration of allergen preparations in various forms and by various routes. Virus-like particles (VLPs) offer a very effective platform for immunization with the allergen and are characterized by high immunogenicity, low allergenicity and high clinical efficacy. Formulations that include Toll-like receptor ligands, T cell stimulatory epitopes and/or depot-forming adjuvants appear to enhance activation of the relevant immune cells. Short nucleotide sequences including CpG motifs have also been intensively explored as potent stimulators of dendritic cells and B cells. Methods: The present paper is based on a systematic literature search in PubMed and MEDLINE, and focuses on the pertinent immunological processes and on clinical data relating to use of VLPs and CpG motifs for the treatment of allergic rhinitis (AR). Results: Many published studies have reported positive clinical results following administration of VLPs, either alone or in combination with CpG motifs and, in some cases, even in the absence of the allergen-specific allergen. Conclusions: These results indicate that VLPs modulate immune responses in ways which underline their exceptional promise as a platform for the immunotherapy of allergic disorders. However, clinical evaluations remain limited, and further large-scale and longer-term studies will be necessary to substantiate the efficacy and safety of these novel therapies.