Particle based vaccine formulations for transcutaneous immunization

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Abstract

Vaccine formulations on the basis of nano- (NP) or microparticles (MP) can solve issues with stabilization, controlled release, and poor immunogenicity of antigens. Likewise transcutaneous immunization (TCI) promises superior immunogenicity as well as the advantages of needle-free application compared with conventional intramuscular injections. Thus the combination of both strategies seems to be a very valuable approach. However, until now TCI using particle based vaccine formulations has made no impact on medical practice. One of the main difficulties is that NPs and MPs cannot penetrate the skin to an extent that would allow the application of the required dose of antigen. This is due to the formidable stratum corneum (SC) barrier, the limited amount of antigen in the formulation and often an insufficient immunogenicity. A multitude of strategies are currently under investigation to overcome these issues. We highlight selected methods presenting a spectrum of solutions ranging from transfollicular delivery, to devices disrupting the SC barrier and the combination of particle based vaccines with adjuvants discussing their advantages and shortcomings. Some of these are currently at an experimental state while others are already in clinical testing. All methods have been shown to be capable of transcutaneous antigen delivery.

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