Vaccines (Basel). 2021 Feb 6;9(2):133. doi: 10.3390/vaccines9020133.
INTRODUCTION: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) reactivation occurs in seronegative patients after solid organ transplantation (SOT) particularly from seropositive donors and can be lethal. Generation of CMV-specific T cells helps to prevent CMV reactivation. Therefore, we initiated a clinical phase I CMVpp65 peptide vaccination trial for seronegative end-stage renal disease patients waiting for kidney transplantation.
METHODS: The highly immunogenic nonamer peptide NLVPMVATV derived from CMV phosphoprotein 65(CMVpp65) in a water-in-oil emulsion (Montanide™) plus imiquimod (Aldara™) as an adjuvant was administered subcutaneously four times biweekly. Clinical course as well as immunological responses were monitored using IFN-γ ELISpot assays and flow cytometry for CMV-specific CD8+ T cells.
RESULTS: Peptide vaccination was well tolerated, and no drug-related serious adverse events were detected except for Grade I-II local skin reactions. Five of the 10 patients (50%) mounted any immune response (responders) and 40% of the patients presented CMV-specific CD8+ T cell responses elicited by these prophylactic vaccinations. No responders experienced CMV reactivation in the 18 months post-transplantation, while all non-responders reactivated.
CONCLUSION: CMVpp65 peptide vaccination was safe, well tolerated, and clinically encouraging in seronegative end-stage renal disease patients waiting for kidney transplantation. Further studies with larger patient cohorts are planned.