Subunit vaccines are playing a critical role in controlling numerous diseases and attracting more and more research interests due to their numerous advantages over conventional whole microbe-based vaccines. However, subunit vaccines are weak immunogens and thus have limited capacity in eliciting the humoral and cellular immunity against pathogens. Recently, nanoparticles (NPs) formed with certain small molecules through self-assembly have been employed as an effective carrier for subunit vaccines to play roles of adjuvant, delivery and stabilization of antigens, thus engendering a vaccine adjuvant-delivery system (VADS), which shows promises to overcome the hurdles in developing subunit vaccines. In particular, the small molecule-self-assembled NPs as a VADS can not only deliver vaccine ingredients to immune cells but also influence the immunoresponse toward a Th1 (type 1 T helper cell) and Th2 balanced pathway to establish both humoral and cellular immunity. This chapter describes the innovative VADSs based on the small molecule-self-assembled NPs, such as metal NPs (mNPs), emulsions, liposomes, and ISCOMs, which are elaborately designed for the development of subunit vaccines.
Part of the book: Immunization