Prime and target immunization protects against liver-stage malaria in mice
Gola A., Silman D., Walters AA., Sridhar S., Uderhardt S., Salman AM., Halbroth BR., Bellamy D., Bowyer G., Powlson J., Baker M., Venkatraman N., Poulton I., Berrie E., Roberts R., Lawrie AM., Angus B., Khan SM., Janse CJ., Ewer KJ., Germain RN., Spencer AJ., Hill AVS.
Despite recent advances in treatment and vector control, malaria is still a leading cause of death, emphasizing the need for an effective vaccine. The malaria life cycle can be subdivided into three stages: the invasion and growth within liver hepatocytes (pre-erythrocytic stage), the blood stage (erythrocytic stage), and, finally, the sexual stage (occurring within the mosquito vector). Antigen (Ag)-specific CD8+ T cells are effectively induced by heterologous prime-boost viral vector immunization and known to correlate with liver-stage protection. However, liver-stage malaria vaccines have struggled to generate and maintain the high numbers of Plasmodium-specific circulating T cells necessary to confer sterile protection. We describe an alternative “prime and target” vaccination strategy aimed specifically at inducing high numbers of tissue-resident memory T cells present in the liver at the time of hepatic infection. This approach bypasses the need for very high numbers of circulating T cells and markedly increases the efficacy of subunit immunization against liver-stage malaria with clinically relevant Ags and clinically tested viral vectors in murine challenge models. Translation to clinical use has begun, with encouraging results from a pilot safety and feasibility trial of intravenous chimpanzee adenovirus vaccination in humans. This work highlights the value of a prime-target approach for immunization against malaria and suggests that this strategy may represent a more general approach for prophylaxis or immunotherapy of other liver infections and diseases.