Virus-like particles against infectious disease and cancer: guidance for the nano-architect.
Hills RA., Howarth M.
Virus-like particles (VLPs) can play important roles in prevention and therapy for infectious diseases and cancer. Here we describe recent advances in rational construction of VLP assemblies, as well as new approaches to enhance long-lasting antibody and CD8+ T cell responses. DNA origami and computational protein design identified optimal spacing of antigens. Chemical biology advances enabled simple and irreversible VLP decoration with protein or polysaccharide antigens. Mosaic VLPs co-displayed antigens to generate cross-reactive antibodies against different influenza strains and coronaviruses. The mode of action of adjuvants inside VLPs was established through knock-outs and repackaging of innate immune stimuli. VLPs themselves showed their power as adjuvants in cancer models. Finally, landmark clinical results were obtained against malaria and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.