Recent advances in the discovery and delivery of vaccine adjuvants

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2003 Sep;2(9):727-35. doi: 10.1038/nrd1176.


Adjuvant design has historically had a touch of alchemy at its heart due to its reliance on the complex biology of innate immune activation. However, a new mechanistic understanding of innate immunity, combined with new adjuvant and delivery platforms for exploiting this knowledge, has led to significant advances recently. Although many challenges remain, the field is moving rapidly and the proper tools and methodologies are in place for the use of traditional drug discovery engines in guiding the development of vaccine adjuvants. In this review, we outline the current trends in immune potentiator, delivery system and adjuvant design that will shape the vaccines of the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage*
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / metabolism
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy, Active / methods
  • Immunotherapy, Active / trends*
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Technology, Pharmaceutical / trends*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic