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Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2010 Mar 18;62(4-5):378-93. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2009.11.011. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Application of nanotechnologies for improved immune response against infectious diseases in the developing world.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, New Haven, CT 06520-8260, USA.


There is an urgent need for new strategies to combat infectious diseases in developing countries. Many pathogens have evolved to elude immunity and this has limited the utility of current therapies. Additionally, the emergence of co-infections and drug resistant pathogens has increased the need for advanced therapeutic and diagnostic strategies. These challenges can be addressed with therapies that boost the quality and magnitude of an immune response in a predictable, designable fashion that can be applied for wide-spread use. Here, we discuss how biomaterials and specifically nanoscale delivery vehicles can be used to modify and improve the immune system response against infectious diseases. Immunotherapy of infectious disease is the enhancement or modulation of the immune system response to more effectively prevent or clear pathogen infection. Nanoscale vehicles are particularly adept at facilitating immunotherapeutic approaches because they can be engineered to have different physical properties, encapsulated agents, and surface ligands. Additionally, nanoscaled point-of-care diagnostics offer new alternatives for portable and sensitive health monitoring that can guide the use of nanoscale immunotherapies. By exploiting the unique tunability of nanoscale biomaterials to activate, shape, and detect immune system effector function, it may be possible in the near future to generate practical strategies for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases in the developing world.

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