The treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has greatly improved over the last 10 years, but alternative treatments are still needed. Therapeutic vaccination is a promising new strategy for controlling chronic infection. However, this approach has not been as successful as initially anticipated for chronic hepatitis B. General impairment of the immune responses generated during persistent HBV infection, with exhausted T cells not responding correctly to therapeutic vaccination, is probably responsible for the poor clinical responses observed to date. Intensive research efforts are now focusing on increasing the efficacy of therapeutic vaccination without causing liver disease. Here we describe new approaches to use with therapeutic vaccination, in order to overcome the inhibitory mechanisms impairing immune responses. We also describe innovative strategies for generating functional immune responses and inducing sustained control of this persistent infection.
Copyright © 2011 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.