DNA vaccines come of age

Officials with Inovio Pharmaceuticals have announced the publication of an article exploring the “rebirth” of DNA vaccines in the July issue of Scientific American magazine.

The article - "DNA Drugs Come of Age" - was co-authored by Dr. David Weiner, the chairman of the scientific advisory board for Inovio Phramaceuticals, reports. Weiner is also a professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Weiner writes that some of the advantages of DNA vaccines versus traditional vaccines include that DNA vaccines are recognized as safer than traditional vaccines and are easier and faster to develop and manufacture. Unlike traditional vaccines, DNA vaccines also do not require refrigeration, according to the report.

“A new generation of plasmid-based vaccines is proving in human and animal trials that it can produce the desired responses while retaining the safety and other benefits that make DNA so appealing,” Weiner wrote in the article. “The same DNA-based technology is also now expanding to other forms of immune therapy and the direct delivery of medicines. In their mature form, such DNA-based vaccines and treatments are poised to become a success story by addressing several conditions that now lack effective treatments.”

Weiner’s article also points to progress DNA vaccines have made since research began in the early 1990s.

“These designer plasmid vaccines are a far cry from the simple protein-encoding constructs of the early years of the DNA platform,” Weiner wrote, reports. “With optimized plasmids and improved delivery methods, the technology was ready to make a comeback.”

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, the CEO of Inovio, told that the article also affirms the accomplishments and potential in the field of DNA vaccines.

“At Inovio we are proud to be a leader in advancing novel DNA plasmid vaccines and enhanced delivery using electroporation, with vaccines for HIV, influenza and cancer all in clinical trials,” Kim told “We are likewise proud of our long-standing collaborative relationship with Dr. Weiner, who is recognized as the ‘father of DNA vaccines.’”