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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2008 April;143(2):95-104

language: English

Vaccination strategies based on the mimotope concept

Szalai K., Jensen-Jarolim E., Pali-Schöll I.

Department of Pathophysiology Center of Physiology, Pathophysiology and Immunology Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria


Specific immunotherapies are in broad use for many diseases like allergies, cancer, autoimmune diseases or parasitic infections. Although clinical trials show successful application of these therapies, several disadvantages hinder the complete success. High production costs and repeated administrations represent the practical problems, while the possibly occurring side effects are the therapeutic troubles. To avoid these problems, the target specificity should be considered more intensely. Epitopes, the particular parts of antigens/allergens where they bind specific antibodies, are useful targets. To generate an epitope-specific vaccination, mimotopes can be identified via the biopanning technology. Mimotopes are small peptides mimicking the epitopes in the structural as well as in the immunological point of few. They are able to induce antigen-specific antibodies in active immunization form. These antibodies are directed against the natural antigen/allergen, and therefore they are able to block the outbreak of the diseases. Current research focuses on the development of mimotopes to achieve an epitope-specific induction of blocking antibodies, e.g. for allergy treatment. In cancer therapy, studies with mimotopes show successful interference with tumor cell growth in immunizations of mice. Also in the case of autoimmune diseases and parasitic infections this method was applied, targeting different molecules, which are key mediators in the disease mechanisms. Through the mimotope treatment via the specific antibody production, the disease symptoms could be hampered. This review gives an overview of the use of the mimotope concept and also of related therapeutic trials for the treatment of allergy, cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases.

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