Optimization of a gene electrotransfer procedure for efficient intradermal immunization with an hTERT-based DNA vaccine in mice

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2014 Sep 24;1:14045. doi: 10.1038/mtm.2014.45. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

DNA vaccination consists in administering an antigen-encoding plasmid in order to trigger a specific immune response. This specific vaccine strategy is of particular interest to fight against various infectious diseases and cancer. Gene electrotransfer is the most efficient and safest non-viral gene transfer procedure and specific electrical parameters have been developed for several target tissues. Here, a gene electrotransfer protocol into the skin has been optimized in mice for efficient intradermal immunization against the well-known telomerase tumor antigen. First, the luciferase reporter gene was used to evaluate gene electrotransfer efficiency into the skin as a function of the electrical parameters and electrodes, either non-invasive or invasive. In a second time, these parameters were tested for their potency to generate specific cellular CD8 immune responses against telomerase epitopes. These CD8 T-cells were fully functional as they secreted IFNγ and were endowed with specific cytotoxic activity towards target cells. This simple and optimized procedure for efficient gene electrotransfer into the skin using the telomerase antigen is to be used in cancer patients for the phase 1 clinical evaluation of a therapeutic cancer DNA vaccine called INVAC-1.