Engineering antigen-specific immunological tolerance
Unwanted immunity develops in response to many protein drugs, in autoimmunity, in allergy, and in transplantation. Approaches to induce immunological tolerance aim to either prevent these responses or reverse them after they have already taken place. We present here recent developments in approaches, based on engineered peptides, proteins and biomaterials, that harness mechanisms of peripheral tolerance both prophylactically and therapeutically to induce antigen-specific immunological tolerance. These mechanisms are based on responses of B and T lymphocytes to other cells in their immune environment that result in cellular deletion or ignorance to particular antigens, or in development of active immune regulatory responses. Several of these approaches are moving toward clinical development, and some are already in early stages of clinical testing.