For many insidious pathogens the classical vaccination approach of injecting attenuated
pathogens has failed. Subunit vaccines composed of recombinant antigens might provide an
attractive alternative but their effective deployment will require the development of adjuvants capable of activating cellular immune responses. An appealing approach to achieve this goal is the encapsulation of antigens and immune-stimulatory compounds in particulate carriers.
Particulates in the 0.1-10 μm size range mimic the dimensions of pathogens, making them far
better recognized by the immune system than soluble antigens. Moreover, particulate delivery systems reduce inflammatory side effects evoked by immune stimulatory compounds by
focussing their action onto antigen presenting cells. Formulating antigens and immune
stimulatory components - often having totally different physicochemical characteristics -
inside the same particulate carrier however poses a tremendous challenge to drug delivery
scientists, currently impeding the use of these delivery systems on the vaccine market. As a consequence, the major aim of this project is the development of an easy and versatile
formulation strategy, compatible with clinical scaling up and enabling the efficient
encapsulation of antigens and immune-stimulatory components. Achieving this might
contribute to the development of prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines against chronic
infectious diseases and cancers, which are currently poorly controlled.