Therapeutic vaccination for treatment of chronic hepatitis B.
Cargill T., Barnes E.
Chronic hepatitis B infection remains a serious global health threat, contributing to a large number of deaths through liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Current treatment does not eradicate disease, and therefore new treatments are urgently needed. In acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) a strong immune response is necessary to clear the virus, but in chronic infection the immune response is weakened and dysfunctional. Therapeutic vaccination describes the process of inoculating individuals with a non-infective form of viral antigen with the aim of inducing or boosting existing HBV-specific immune responses, resulting in sustained control of HBV infection. In this review we outline the rationale for therapeutic vaccination in chronic HBV infection, discuss previous and ongoing trials of novel HBV therapeutic vaccine candidates and outline strategies to improve vaccine efficacy going forward.