New insights on adenovirus as vaccine vectors

Mol Ther. 2009 Aug;17(8):1333-9. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.130. Epub 2009 Jun 9.


Adenovirus (Ad) vectors were initially developed for treatment of genetic diseases. Their usefulness for permanent gene replacement was limited by their high immunogenicity, which resulted in rapid elimination of transduced cells through induction of T and B cells to antigens of Ad and the transgene product. The very trait that excluded their use for sustained treatment of genetic diseases made them highly attractive as vaccine carriers. Recently though results showed that Ad vectors based on common human serotypes, such as serotype 5, may not be ideal as vaccine carriers. A recently conducted phase 2b trial, termed STEP trial, with an AdHu5-based vaccine expressing antigens of human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) not only showed lack of efficacy in spite of the vaccine's immunogenicity, but also suggested an increased trend for HIV acquisition in individuals that had circulating AdHu5 neutralizing antibodies prior to vaccination. Alternative serotypes from humans or nonhuman primates (NHPs), to which most humans lack pre-existing immunity, have been vectored and may circumvent the problems encountered with the use of AdHu5 vectors in humans. In summary, although Ad vectors have seen their share of setbacks in recent years, they remain viable tools for prevention or treatment of a multitude of diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Adenoviridae / immunology
  • Animals
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics*
  • Genetic Vectors / immunology
  • Humans
  • Serotyping
  • Vaccines / genetics*
  • Vaccines / immunology


  • Vaccines