4 Nov 2015

Understanding the design of effective particle-based vaccines against malaria

Malaria kills over half a million people
globally each year. Image: VectorBase
Malaria vaccine research has been ongoing since the 1980s with limited success. However, recent improvements in our understanding of the immune responses required to combat each stage of infection will allow for intelligent design of both antigens and their associated delivery vaccine vehicles/vectors. Synthetic carriers (also known as vectors) are usually particulate and have multiple properties, which can be varied to control how an associated vaccine interacts with the host, and consequently how the immune response develops.

This review comprehensively analyzes both historical and recent studies in which synthetic carriers are used to deliver malaria vaccines. Furthermore, the requirements for a synthetic carrier, such as size, charge, and surface chemistry are reviewed in order to understand the design of effective particle-based vaccines against malaria, as well as providing general insights. Synthetic carriers have the ability to alter and direct the immune response, and a better control of particle properties will facilitate improved vaccine design in the near future.

Reference (full text): Powles L, Xiang SD, Selomulya C, Plebanski M. Vaccines (Basel). The Use of Synthetic Carriers in Malaria Vaccine Design. Vaccines (Basel). 2015 Oct 29;3(4):894-929. doi: 10.3390/vaccines3040894. Review. PMID: 26529028
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