Research ArticleLEISHMANIA

Modular Multiantigen T Cell Epitope–Enriched DNA Vaccine Against Human Leishmaniasis

Science Translational Medicine  30 Apr 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 234, pp. 234ra56
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008222

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Y Not?—A T Cell–Based Leishmania Vaccine

Most successful vaccines against human diseases induce neutralizing antibodies—Y-shaped molecules that block toxins or prevent infection. However, some infections, such as leishmaniasis, are not effectively prevented with neutralizing antibodies. Yet, vaccines for these infections are urgently needed. Indeed, current treatment for Leishmania infection is expensive and has severe side effects, and prevention is limited to bed nets and insecticides. Now, Das et al. develop a DNA vaccine against leishmaniasis that induces T cell–based immunity.

The authors began by screening for Leishmania antigens that were conserved across different species, endemic regions, and over time. They then confirmed that these antigens were immunogenic with blood from individuals who had been cured of Leishmania infection from different endemic regions. A DNA vaccine consisting of these antigens was protective in a rodent model of infection. This vaccine shows promise if confirmed in human testing, and the strategy of antigen selection is a proof of principle for development of other T cell–based vaccines.