DNA/RNA Vaccines

The Nucleic Acid Vaccines Forum

21-23 October 2024, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland

Nucleic acid vaccines have been attracting attention as an alternative to the standard attenuated pathogen or protein based vaccine. However, an unrealized advantage of using such DNA or RNA based vaccination modalities is the ability to program within these nucleic acids regulatory devices that would provide an immunologist with the power to control the production of antigens and adjuvants in a desirable manner by administering small molecule drugs as chemical triggers. Advances in synthetic biology have resulted in the creation of highly predictable and modular genetic parts and devices that can be composed into synthetic gene circuits with complex behaviors. With the recent advent of modified RNA gene delivery methods and developments in the RNA replicon platform, a future researchers will create genetic circuits encoded exclusively on RNA. 

The DNA/RNA Vaccines meeting in Lausanne meeting will focus on current and future developments of Nucleic Acid Vaccines.

Shan Lu (University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA)
Daniel Dory (ANSES, Ploufragan, France)
Shuying Liu ( USA)
Stephanie McArdle (Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Kenneth Lundstrom (PanTherapeutics, Lutry, Switzerland)
Peter Pushko (Medigen Inc,Frederick, Maryland, USA)
Gerrit Borchard (University of Geneva, Geneva , Switzerland)
Favio Palombo (Neomatrix, Rome, Italy)
Giuseppe Pantaleo (CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland)

DNA/RNA Vaccines (Nucleic acid vaccines) are a method of immunization aiming to elicit immune responses akin to live attenuated vaccines. In this method, DNA or messenger RNA (mRNA) sequences are delivered to the body to generate proteins, which mimic disease antigens to stimulate the immune response. Advantages of nucleic acid vaccines include stimulation of both cell-mediated and humoral immunity, ease of design, rapid adaptability to changing pathogen strains, and customizable multiantigen vaccines. To combat the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and many other diseases, nucleic acid vaccines appear to be a promising method. However, aid is needed in delivering the fragile DNA/mRNA payload. Many delivery strategies have been developed to elicit effective immune stimulation, yet no nucleic acid vaccine has been FDA-approved for human use. Nanoparticles (NPs) are one of the top candidates to mediate successful DNA/mRNA vaccine delivery due to their unique properties, including unlimited possibilities for formulations, protective capacity, simultaneous loading, and delivery potential of multiple DNA/mRNA vaccines. 

Main areas of focus:

  • DNA/RNA vaccines against infectious diseases
  • DNA/RNA vaccines against tumors
  • Autoimmune diseases and other diseases
  • Veterinary DNA vaccines 
  • Formulations / transport of DNA/RNA vaccines / preparation / platforms / inoculations
  • Clinical assessments phase 1, 2 and 3
  • clinical evaluation of nucleic acid vaccines
  • regulatory pathways
  • Comparison DNA/RNA vaccination 
  • Safety/biodistribution 
  • – Early immune responses , long term protection 
  • Targetting immune cells
  • Mucosal immune responses / mucosal protection

Current sessions planned over 3 days:

  • Overview and history of nucleic acid vaccines
  • mRNA vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
  • mRNA vaccines against other pathogens
  • Current progress of DNA vaccines including human studies
  • Lipid Nanoparticle (LNP) delivery systems
  • Other delivery systems for nucleic acid vaccines (gene gun, electroporation, pharmaject etc.)
  • Manufacturing and formulation of nucleic acid vaccines
  • Regulation & Safety of Nucleic Acid Vaccines
  • Future developments and directions for Nucleic Acid Vaccines