November 1, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 19)

The discovery, over a decade and a half ago, that genetically engineered DNA can be delivered as a genetically encoded immunogene into living animals and elicit an immune response, was the birth of the field of DNA vaccines. Since that time there has been much progress in our understanding of the basic biology of this platform.

A large body of data has been generated in preclinical model systems that is starting to look promising for clinical exploitation as more sustained cellular and more consistent antibody responses are being observed in the clinic. Four DNA vaccine products have recently been approved, all in the area of veterinary medicine, illustrating the growing economic potential of this platform.

Improvements in construct design, formulations, adjuvants, and most importantly delivery devices, including the gene gun and the exciting technology of electroporation, are dramatically raising the bar for what is expected from this vaccine platform. These exciting achievements suggest a productive future for DNA vaccines as more optimized constructs, better trial designs, and improved platforms are being examined in the clinic.

The “DNA Vaccines” meeting (www.bioconfer, which will be held next month in Las Vegas, will bring together investigators who are focused on the next generation of DNA technology. Topics such as basic biology, developmental immunology, manufacturing, formulations, adjuvants, the latest device developments, advances in the area of veterinary medicine, and clinical applications and results will be presented.

Vaccine approaches targeting cancers and infectious diseases will be a central focus for the meeting. Advances in applications to HCV, TB, malaria, HIV, HPV, prostate cancer, pandemic and seasonal influenza, HSV, melanoma, bioterrorism, dengue, and other emerging pathogens, as well as applications to gene-based drug delivery and others will be presented by leading scientists.

This meeting will mark the growth of the DNA vaccines field as it transitions to a targeted clinical product-oriented platform that will impact the future of all vaccines. For more information go to

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