Immunological Principles Guiding the Rational Design of Particles for Vaccine Delivery

Katelyn T Gause, Adam K. Wheatley, Jiwei Cui, Yan Yan, Stephen J. Kent, Frank Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

92 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the immense public health successes of immunization over the past century, effective vaccines are still lacking for globally important pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus, malaria, and tuberculosis. Exciting recent advances in immunology and biotechnology over the past few decades have facilitated a shift from empirical to rational vaccine design, opening possibilities for improved vaccines. Some of the most important advancements include (i) the purification of subunit antigens with high safety profiles, (ii) the identification of innate pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and cognate agonists responsible for inducing immune responses, and (iii) developments in nano- and microparticle fabrication and characterization techniques. Advances in particle engineering now allow highly tunable physicochemical properties of particle-based vaccines, including composition, size, shape, surface characteristics, and degradability. Enhanced collaborative efforts between researchers in immunology and materials science are expected to rise to next-generation vaccines. This process will be significantly aided by a greater understanding of the immunological principles guiding vaccine antigenicity, immunogenicity, and efficacy. With specific emphasis on PRR-targeted adjuvants and particle physicochemical properties, this review aims to provide an overview of the current literature to guide and focus rational particle-based vaccine design efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalACS Nano
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • adjuvant
  • antigen presentation
  • antigen-presenting cell
  • co-delivery
  • lymph node trafficking
  • NLR
  • pattern recognition receptors
  • subunit antigen
  • TLR
  • vaccine particles

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