DNA Vaccines Generate Excitement As Human Trials Begin

'ABSOLUTELY AMAZING': Yerkes' Harriet Robinson notes that research in the field has grown at an extraordinarily rapid rate. With more pathogens developing resistance to antibiotics, and with the increasing vulnerability of human populations to infectious diseases, vaccine research has taken on a new urgency. Among the technologies being developed for the vaccines of the 21st century is the novel idea of using naked DNA-a simple loop of DNA containing an antigen gene-to induce an immune respons

Robert Finn
Mar 15, 1998


'ABSOLUTELY AMAZING': Yerkes' Harriet Robinson notes that research in the field has grown at an extraordinarily rapid rate.
With more pathogens developing resistance to antibiotics, and with the increasing vulnerability of human populations to infectious diseases, vaccine research has taken on a new urgency. Among the technologies being developed for the vaccines of the 21st century is the novel idea of using naked DNA-a simple loop of DNA containing an antigen gene-to induce an immune response (K.S. Brown, The Scientist, 10[7]:14, April 1, 1996).

These DNA vaccines (some researchers prefer other terms, including "genetic vaccines") offer the hope of vaccines that may be simple to develop, safe and highly effective, and easy to transport and store. Preclinical research on DNA vaccines has been highly promising, according to a 1997 report published by the American Academy of Microbiology (available on the Web at http://www.asmusa.org/acasrc/aca1.htm). And this seems...