Dendrimers for Vaccine and Immunostimulatory Uses: A Review

Peter M. H. Heegaard, Ulrik Boas, Nanna Skall Sørensen

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Dendrimers are well-defined (monodisperse) synthetic globular polymers with a range of interesting chemical and biological properties. Chemical properties include the presence of multiple accessible surface functional groups that can be used for coupling biologically relevant molecules and methods that allow for precise heterofunctionalization of surface groups. Biologically, dendrimers are highly biocompatible and have predictable biodistribution and cell membrane interacting characteristics determined by their size and surface charge. Dendrimers have optimal characteristics to fill the need for efficient immunostimulating compounds (adjuvants) that can increase the efficiency of vaccines, as dendrimers can provide molecularly defined multivalent scaffolds to produce highly defined conjugates with small molecule immunostimulators and/or antigens. The review gives an overview on the use of dendrimers as molecularly defined carriers/presenters of small antigens, including constructs that have built-in immunostimulatory (adjuvant) properties, and as stand-alone adjuvants that can be mixed with antigens to provide efficient vaccine formulations. These approaches allow the preparation of molecularly defined vaccines with highly predictable and specific properties and enable knowledge-based vaccine design substituting the traditional empirically based approaches for vaccine development and production.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)405-418
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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