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Annu Rev Chem Biomol Eng. 2010;1:175-201. doi: 10.1146/annurev-chembioeng-073009-100948.

Transcutaneous immunization: an overview of advantages, disease targets, vaccines, and delivery technologies.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.


Skin is an immunologically active tissue composed of specialized cells and agents that capture and process antigens to confer immune protection. Transcutaneous immunization takes advantage of the skin immune network by inducing a protective immune response against topically applied antigens. This mode of vaccination presents a novel and attractive approach for needle-free immunization that is safe, noninvasive, and overcomes many of the limitations associated with needle-based administrations. In this review we will discuss the developments in the field of transcutaneous immunization in the past decade with special emphasis on disease targets and vaccine delivery technologies. We will also briefly discuss the challenges that need to be overcome to translate early laboratory successes in transcutaneous immunization into the development of effective clinical prophylactics.

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