Timeline

Towards an understanding of the adjuvant action of aluminium

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Abstract

The efficacy of vaccines depends on the presence of an adjuvant in conjunction with the antigen. Of these adjuvants, the ones that contain aluminium, which were first discovered empirically in 1926, are currently the most widely used. However, a detailed understanding of their mechanism of action has only started to be revealed. In this Timeline article, we briefly describe the initial discovery of aluminium adjuvants and discuss historically important advances. We also summarize recent progress in the field and discuss their implications and the remaining questions on how these adjuvants work.

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Acknowledgements

This work was partially supported by the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (grants A1-18785 and A1-22995).

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Philippa Marrack, Amy S. McKee and Michael W. Munks are at the HHMI, Integrated Department of Immunology, National Jewish Health, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.

    • Philippa Marrack
    • , Amy S. McKee
    •  & Michael W. Munks
  2. Philippa Marrack is also at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA, and at the Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, Colorado 80262, USA.

    • Philippa Marrack

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Philippa Marrack.