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Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2009 Jul;6(7):657-72. doi: 10.1517/17425240903018863.

Status and future prospects of lipid-based particulate delivery systems as vaccine adjuvants and their combination with immunostimulators.

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University of Copenhagen, Department of Pharmaceutics and Analytical Chemistry, Universitetsparken 2, DK-2100 Copenhagen O, Denmark.


Vaccines seek to adopt pathogen-like characteristics but not true pathogen characteristics to activate the immune system without causing life-threatening disease. Vaccine formulations are therefore often particulate in nature, with dimensions comparable to pathogens, and often contain highly conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns as adjuvants stimulating the immune system. Only a few adjuvants have been approved for human use. There is therefore an unmet medical need for the development of effective and safe adjuvants that can stimulate cellular, humoral or mucosal immunity, or combinations thereof, depending on the requirements, to prevent the specific disease. Lipid-based particulate systems are in this respect promising and versatile adjuvants that can be customized rationally towards specific vaccine targets by varying their composition. In this review, current progress in the development of lipid-based vaccine delivery systems is discussed, with a special focus on emulsions, liposomes and immune-stimulating complexes, and their combination with immunostimulatory compounds. Formulations, adjuvant mechanisms and alternative administration routes are highlighted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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