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J Control Release. 2000 May 15;66(2-3):199-214.

Cutaneous vaccination: the skin as an immunologically active tissue and the challenge of antigen delivery.

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College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, 110 Science Place, Saskatoon, Canada.

Erratum in

  • J Control Release 2000 Jul 3;67(2-3):415.


Vaccination is one of the major achievements of modern medicine. As a result of vaccination, diseases such as polio and measles have been controlled and small pox has been eradicated. However, despite these successes there are still many microbial diseases that cause tremendous suffering because there is no vaccine or the vaccines available are inadequate. In addition, even if vaccines were available for all infectious diseases there is no guarantee that people would use them routinely. One of the major impediments to ensuring vaccine efficacy and compliance is that of delivery. Presently most vaccines are given by intramuscular administration. Unfortunately this is often traumatic, especially in infants. Thus, if it was possible to replace intramuscular immunization by mucosal (oral/intranasal) or transdermal delivery it may be possible to both enhance mucosal immunity as well as improve overall compliance rates. The transdermal route has been used by the pharmaceutical industry for the delivery of various low molecular weight drugs. Some of the approaches used for smaller compounds may also have potential for delivery of either protein or polynucleotide vaccines. However, there is a greater challenge to delivering large molecular weight molecules through the skin due to size, charge and other physicochemical properties. This review will describe the recent advances that have been made in dermal and topical delivery as related to vaccines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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