Immunodrugs: therapeutic VLP-based vaccines for chronic diseases

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2009;49:303-26. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-061008-103129.


Worldwide, the prevalence of noncommunicable chronic diseases is increasing. The use of vaccines to induce autoantibodies that neutralize disease-related proteins offers a means to effectively and affordably treat such diseases. Twenty vaccines designed to induce therapeutic autoantibodies were clinically tested in the past 12 years. Immunodrugs are therapeutic vaccines comprising virus-like particles (VLPs) covalently conjugated with self-antigens that induce neutralizing autoantibody responses. Four such VLP-based vaccines have been clinically tested and one has achieved proof of principle: a reduction of blood pressure in hypertensive patients. To facilitate preliminary clinical testing, novel nonclinical study programs have been developed. Safety study designs have considered the underlying B and T cell immunology and have examined potential toxicities of vaccine components and primary and secondary pharmacodynamic action of the vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chronic Disease / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials, Phase I as Topic
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry
  • Nanoparticles / ultrastructure
  • Vaccines / chemistry
  • Vaccines / immunology
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use*
  • Vaccines / toxicity
  • Virion / chemistry*
  • Virion / ultrastructure


  • Vaccines