Optimizing the utilization of aluminum adjuvants in vaccines: you might just get what you want

Harm HogenEsch, Derek T. O’Hagan, Christopher B. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Aluminum-containing adjuvants have been used for over 90 years to enhance the immune response to vaccines. Recent work has significantly advanced our understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological properties of these adjuvants, offering key insights on underlying mechanisms. Given the long-term success of aluminum adjuvants, we believe that they should continue to represent the “gold standard” against which all new adjuvants should be compared. New vaccine candidates that require adjuvants to induce a protective immune responses should first be evaluated with aluminum adjuvants before other more experimental approaches are considered, since use of established adjuvants would facilitate both clinical development and the regulatory pathway. However, the continued use of aluminum adjuvants requires an appreciation of their complexities, in combination with access to the necessary expertise to optimize vaccine formulations. In this article, we will review the properties of aluminum adjuvants and highlight those elements that are critical to optimize vaccine performance. We will discuss how other components (excipients, TLR ligands, etc.) can affect the interaction between adjuvants and antigens, and impact the potency of vaccines. This review provides a resource and guide, which will ultimately contribute to the successful development of newer, more effective and safer vaccines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number51
Journalnpj Vaccines
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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