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1.  Highly specific transgene expression mediated by a complex adenovirus vector incorporating a prostate-specific amplification feedback loop 
Gene therapy  2004;11(18):1399-1407.
Development of novel therapeutic agents is needed to address the problems of locally recurrent, metastatic, and advanced hormone-refractory prostate cancer. We have constructed a novel complex adenovirus (Ad) vector regulation system that incorporates both the prostate-specific ARR2PB promoter and a positive feedback loop using the TRE promoter to enhance gene expression. This regulation strategy involves the incorporation of the TRE upstream of the prostate-specific ARR2PB promoter to enhance its activity with Tet-regulation. The expressions of both GFP and tTA were placed under the control of these TRE-ARR2PB promoters, so that in the cells of prostate origin, a positive feedback loop would be generated. This design greatly enhanced GFP reporter expression in prostate cancer cells, while retaining tight control of expression in non-prostate cancer cells, even at MOI as high as 1000. This novel positive feedback loop with prostate specificity (PFLPS) regulation system we have developed may have broad applications for expressing not only high levels of toxic proteins in cancer cells but alternatively could be manipulated to regulate essential genes in a highly efficient conditionally replicative adenovirus (CRAd) vector specifically directed to prostate cancer cells. The PFLPS regulation system, therefore, serves as a promising new approach in the development of both a specific and effective vector for cancer gene therapy.
PMCID: PMC1831545  PMID: 15229631
prostate cancer; gene therapy; adenovirus; positive feedback loop; Tet responsive element (TRE); ARR2PB promoter
2.  A complex adenovirus vaccine against chikungunya virus provides complete protection against viraemia and arthritis 
Vaccine  2011;29(15):2803-2809.
Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne alphavirus, recently caused the largest epidemic ever seen for this virus. Chikungunya disease primarily manifests as a painful and debilitating arthralgia/arthritis, and no effective drug or vaccine is currently available. Here we describe a recombinant chikungunya virus vaccine comprising a non-replicating complex adenovirus vector encoding the structural polyprotein cassette of chikungunya virus. A single immunisation with this vaccine consistently induced high titres of anti-chikungunya virus antibodies that neutralised both an old Asian isolate and a Réunion Island isolate from the recent epidemic. The vaccine also completely protected mice against viraemia and arthritic disease caused by both virus isolates.
PMCID: PMC3061842  PMID: 21320541
Chikungunya; Adenovirus; Vaccine; Arthritis
3.  Protection of Nonhuman Primates against Two Species of Ebola Virus Infection with a Single Complex Adenovirus Vector▿  
Ebola viruses are highly pathogenic viruses that cause outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever in humans and other primates. To meet the need for a vaccine against the several types of Ebola viruses that cause human diseases, we developed a multivalent vaccine candidate (EBO7) that expresses the glycoproteins of Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV) and Sudan ebolavirus (SEBOV) in a single complex adenovirus-based vector (CAdVax). We evaluated our vaccine in nonhuman primates against the parenteral and aerosol routes of lethal challenge. EBO7 vaccine provided protection against both Ebola viruses by either route of infection. Significantly, protection against SEBOV given as an aerosol challenge, which has not previously been shown, could be achieved with a boosting vaccination. These results demonstrate the feasibility of creating a robust, multivalent Ebola virus vaccine that would be effective in the event of a natural virus outbreak or biological threat.
PMCID: PMC2849326  PMID: 20181765
4.  A Complex Adenovirus-Vectored Vaccine against Rift Valley Fever Virus Protects Mice against Lethal Infection in the Presence of Preexisting Vector Immunity▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology : CVI  2009;16(11):1624-1632.
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) has been cited as a potential biological-weapon threat due to the serious and fatal disease it causes in humans and animals and the fact that this mosquito-borne virus can be lethal in an aerosolized form. Current human and veterinary vaccines against RVFV, however, are outdated, inefficient, and unsafe. We have incorporated the RVFV glycoprotein genes into a nonreplicating complex adenovirus (CAdVax) vector platform to develop a novel RVFV vaccine. Mice vaccinated with the CAdVax-based vaccine produced potent humoral immune responses and were protected against lethal RVFV infection. Additionally, protection was elicited in mice despite preexisting immunity to the adenovirus vector.
PMCID: PMC2772385  PMID: 19776190
5.  A Tetravalent Dengue Vaccine Based on a Complex Adenovirus Vector Provides Significant Protection in Rhesus Monkeys against All Four Serotypes of Dengue Virus▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(14):6927-6934.
Nearly a third of the human population is at risk of infection with the four serotypes of dengue viruses, and it is estimated that more than 100 million infections occur each year. A licensed vaccine for dengue viruses has become a global health priority. A major challenge to developing a dengue vaccine is the necessity to produce fairly uniform protective immune responses to all four dengue virus serotypes. We have developed two bivalent dengue virus vaccines, using a complex adenovirus vector, by incorporating the genes expressing premembrane (prM) and envelope (E) proteins of dengue virus types 1 and 2 (dengue-1 and -2, respectively) (CAdVax-Den12) or dengue-3 and -4 (CAdVax-Den34). Rhesus macaques were vaccinated by intramuscular inoculation of a tetravalent dengue vaccine formulated by combining the two bivalent vaccine constructs. Vaccinated animals produced high-titer antibodies that neutralized all four serotypes of dengue viruses in vitro. The ability of the vaccine to induce rapid, as well as sustained, protective immune responses was examined with two separate live-virus challenges administered at 4 and 24 weeks after the final vaccination. For both of these virus challenge studies, significant protection from viremia was demonstrated for all four dengue virus serotypes in vaccinated animals. Viremia from dengue-1 and dengue-3 challenges was completely blocked, whereas viremia from dengue-2 and dengue-4 was significantly reduced, as well as delayed, compared to that of control-vaccinated animals. These results demonstrate that the tetravalent dengue vaccine formulation provides significant protection in rhesus macaques against challenge with all four dengue virus serotypes.
PMCID: PMC2446963  PMID: 18480438
6.  Vaccine To Confer to Nonhuman Primates Complete Protection against Multistrain Ebola and Marburg Virus Infections▿  
Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg viruses) are among the deadliest viruses known to mankind, with mortality rates nearing 90%. These pathogens are highly infectious through contact with infected body fluids and can be easily aerosolized. Additionally, there are currently no licensed vaccines available to prevent filovirus outbreaks. Their high mortality rates and infectious capabilities when aerosolized and the lack of licensed vaccines available to prevent such infectious make Ebola and Marburg viruses serious bioterrorism threats, placing them both on the category A list of bioterrorism agents. Here we describe a panfilovirus vaccine based on a complex adenovirus (CAdVax) technology that expresses multiple antigens from five different filoviruses de novo. Vaccination of nonhuman primates demonstrated 100% protection against infection by two species of Ebola virus and three Marburg virus subtypes, each administered at 1,000 times the lethal dose. This study indicates the feasibility of vaccination against all current filovirus threats in the event of natural hemorrhagic fever outbreak or biological attack.
PMCID: PMC2268273  PMID: 18216185
7.  Complex Adenovirus-Mediated Expression of West Nile Virus C, PreM, E, and NS1 Proteins Induces both Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses▿  
West Nile Virus (WNV), a member of the family Flaviviridae, was first identified in Africa in 1937. In recent years, it has spread into Europe and North America. The clinical manifestations of WNV infection range from mild febrile symptoms to fatal encephalitis. Two genetic lineages (lineages I and II) are recognized; lineage II is associated with mild disease, while lineage I has been associated with severe disease, including encephalitis. WNV has now spread across North America, significantly affecting both public and veterinary health. In the efforts to develop an effective vaccine against all genetic variants of WNV, we have studied the feasibility of inducing both neutralizing and cellular immune responses by de novo synthesis of WNV antigens using a complex adenoviral vaccine (CAdVax) vector. By expressing multiple WNV proteins from a single vaccine vector, we were able to induce both humoral and cellular immune responses in vaccinated mice. Neutralization assays demonstrated that the antibodies were broadly neutralizing against both lineages of WNV, with a significant preference for the homologous lineage II virus. The results from this study show that multiple antigens synthesized de novo from a CAdVax vector are capable of inducing both humoral and cellular immune responses against WNV and that a multiantigen approach may provide broad protection against multiple genetic variants of WNV.
PMCID: PMC2043313  PMID: 17634508
8.  Two Complex, Adenovirus-Based Vaccines That Together Induce Immune Responses to All Four Dengue Virus Serotypes▿  
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;14(2):182-189.
Dengue virus infections can cause hemorrhagic fever, shock, encephalitis, and even death. Worldwide, approximately 2.5 billion people live in dengue-infested regions with about 100 million new cases each year, although many of these infections are believed to be silent. There are four antigenically distinct serotypes of dengue virus; thus, immunity from one serotype will not cross-protect from infection with the other three. The difficulties that hamper vaccine development include requirements of the natural conformation of the envelope glycoprotein to induce neutralizing immune responses and the necessity of presenting antigens of all four serotypes. Currently, the only way to meet these requirements is to use a mixture of four serotypes of live attenuated dengue viruses, but safety remains a major problem. In this study, we have developed the basis for a tetravalent dengue vaccine using a novel complex adenovirus platform that is capable of expressing multiple antigens de novo. This dengue vaccine is constructed as a pair of vectors that each expresses the premembrane and envelope genes of two different dengue virus serotypes. Upon vaccination, the vaccine expressed high levels of the dengue virus antigens in cells to mimic a natural infection and induced both humoral and cellular immune responses against multiple serotypes of dengue virus in an animal model. Further analyses show the humoral responses were indeed neutralizing against all four serotypes. Our studies demonstrate the concept of mimicking infections to induce immune responses by synthesizing dengue virus membrane antigens de novo and the feasibility of developing an effective tetravalent dengue vaccine by vector-mediated expression of glycoproteins of the four serotypes.
PMCID: PMC1797786  PMID: 17192403
9.  Novel system uses probasin-based promoter, transcriptional silencers and amplification loop to induce high-level prostate expression 
BMC Biotechnology  2007;7:9.
Despite several effective treatment options available for prostate cancer, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. Thus, there is a great need for new treatments to improve outcomes. One such strategy is to eliminate cancer through the expression of cytotoxic genes specifically in prostate cells by gene therapy vectored delivery. To prevent systemic toxicity, tissue- and/or cancer-specific gene expression is required. However, the use of tissue- or cancer-specific promoters to target transgene expression has been hampered by their weak activity.
To address this issue, we have developed a regulation strategy that includes feedback amplification of gene expression along with a differentially suppressible tetracycline regulated expression system (DiSTRES). By differentially suppressing expression of the tetracycline-regulated transcriptional activator (tTA) and silencer (tTS) genes based on the cell origin, this leads to the activation and silencing of the TRE promoter, respectively. In vitro transduction of LNCaP cells with Ad/GFPDiSTRES lead to GFP expression levels that were over 30-fold higher than Ad/CMV-GFP. Furthermore, Ad/FasL-GFPDiSTRES demonstrated cytotoxic effects in prostate cancer cells known to be resistant to Fas-mediated apoptosis.
Prostate-specific regulation from the DiSTRES system, therefore, serves as a promising new regulation strategy for future applications in the field of cancer gene therapy and gene therapy as a whole.
PMCID: PMC1810527  PMID: 17295927
10.  Development of a cAdVax-Based Bivalent Ebola Virus Vaccine That Induces Immune Responses against both the Sudan and Zaire Species of Ebola Virus 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(6):2738-2746.
Ebola virus (EBOV) causes a severe hemorrhagic fever for which there are currently no vaccines or effective treatments. While lethal human outbreaks have so far been restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, the potential exploitation of EBOV as a biological weapon cannot be ignored. Two species of EBOV, Sudan ebolavirus (SEBOV) and Zaire ebolavirus (ZEBOV), have been responsible for all of the deadly human outbreaks resulting from this virus. Therefore, it is important to develop a vaccine that can prevent infection by both lethal species. Here, we describe the bivalent cAdVaxE(GPs/z) vaccine, which includes the SEBOV glycoprotein (GP) and ZEBOV GP genes together in a single complex adenovirus-based vaccine (cAdVax) vector. Vaccination of mice with the bivalent cAdVaxE(GPs/z) vaccine led to efficient induction of EBOV-specific antibody and cell-mediated immune responses to both species of EBOV. In addition, the cAdVax technology demonstrated induction of a 100% protective immune response in mice, as all vaccinated C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice survived challenge with a lethal dose of ZEBOV (30,000 times the 50% lethal dose). This study demonstrates the potential efficacy of a bivalent EBOV vaccine based on a cAdVax vaccine vector design.
PMCID: PMC1395467  PMID: 16501083

Results 1-10 (10)