Research Review | Published:

Advances in vaccine adjuvants

Nature Biotechnology volume 17, pages 10751081 (1999) | Download Citation

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Abstract

Currently, aluminum salts and MF59 are the only vaccine adjuvants approved for human use. With the development of new-generation vaccines (including recombinant subunit and mucosal vaccines) that are less immunogenic, the search for more potent vaccine adjuvants has intensified. Of the novel compounds recently evaluated in human trials, immunostimulatory molecules such as the lipopolysaccharide derived MPL and the saponin derivative QS21 appear most promising, although doubts have been raised as to their safety in humans. Preclinical work with particulate adjuvants, such as the MF59 microemulsion and lipid–particle immune-stimulating complexes (Iscoms), suggest that these molecules are also potent elicitors of humoral and cellular immune responses. In addition, preclinical data on CpG oligonucleotides appear to be encouraging, particularly with respect to their ability to selectively manipulate immune responses. While all these adjuvants show promise, further work is needed to better define the mechanisms of adjuvant action. Ultimately, the development of more potent adjuvants may allow vaccines to be used as therapeutic, rather than prophylactic, agents.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the contributions of our colleagues in Chiron Corporation to the ideas contained in this review, particularly Rino Rappuoli, John Donnelly, Margaret Liu, and Gary Ott. We would also like to thank Peter Anderson and Nelle Cronen for help in the manuscript preparation.We are grateful to Terry Ulrich and Charlotte Read-Kensil for the provision of clinical data on MPL and QS21 adjuvants, respectively.

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  1. Chiron Corporation, 5300 Chiron Way, Emeryville, CA 94608.

    • Manmohan Singh
    •  & Derek O'Hagan

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