Particulate delivery systems for vaccines

Crit Rev Ther Drug Carrier Syst. 2005;22(2):151-214. doi: 10.1615/critrevtherdrugcarriersyst.v22.i2.20.


This review focuses on the use of particulate delivery systems for the purposes of immunization. This includes poly(lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA), ISCOMs, liposomes, niosomes, virosomes, chitosan, and other biodegradable polymers. These systems are evaluated in terms of their use as carriers for protein subunit and DNA vaccines. There is an extensive focus on recent literature, the understanding of biological interactions, and relation of this to our present understanding of immunological mechanisms of action. In addition, there is consideration of formulation techniques including emulsification, solvent diffusion, DNA complexation, and entrapment. The diversity of formulation strategies presented is a testament to the exponential growth and interest in the area of vaccine delivery systems. A case study for the application of particulate vaccine carriers is assessed in terms of vaccine development and recent insights into the possible design and application of vaccines against two of the most important pathogens that threaten mankind and for which there is a significant need: Mycobacterium tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus. This review addresses the rationale for the use of particulate delivery systems in vaccine design in the context of the diversity of carriers for DNA- and protein-based vaccines and their potential for application in terms of the critical need for effective vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Lactates / administration & dosage
  • Liposomes / administration & dosage
  • Microspheres
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles / administration & dosage*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage
  • Polymers / administration & dosage
  • Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Vaccines, DNA / administration & dosage


  • Lactates
  • Liposomes
  • Pharmaceutical Vehicles
  • Polymers
  • Vaccines
  • Vaccines, DNA
  • polyethylene oxide-polylactic acid block copolymer
  • Polyethylene Glycols