, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 79–93 | Cite as

Immunological Foundations to the Quest for New Vaccine Adjuvants

  • Nicolas Burdin
  • Bruno Guy
  • Philippe MoingeonEmail author
Drug Development


Developing efficient adjuvants for human vaccines that elicit broad and sustained immune responses at systemic or mucosal levels remains a formidable challenge for the vaccine industry. Conventional approaches in the past have been largely empirical and — at best — partially successful. Importantly, recent advances in our understanding of the immune system, most particularly with respect to early proinflammatory signals, are leading to the identification of new biological targets for vaccine adjuvants. This review covers both the current status of adjuvant testing in humans, the residual needs for vaccines in development, and the emerging immunological foundations for adjuvant design. A better understanding of the biology of toll-like receptors, non-conventional T cell subpopulations, T and B cell memory, regulatory T cells, and mucosal immunity has profound implications for a modern approach to adjuvant screening and development. The future lies in the high throughput screening of synthetic chemical entities targeting well-characterized biological molecules. Used alone or in combination, such synthetic adjuvants will allow stimulation or modulation in a safe and efficient manner of strong effector, regulatory and memory immune mechanisms.


Bacillus Calmette Guerin Central Memory Mucosal Immunity Secondary Lymphoid Organ Mucosal Immune Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank Drs Jean Haensler and Emmanuelle Trannoy for their critical reading of the manuscript.

The authors are employed by the pharmaceutical industry but do not have any conflict of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.


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© Adis Data Information BV 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research and DevelopmentCampus MérieuxMarcy l’EtoileFrance

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