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P. 18-22 /

Self-assembled peptide-polymer conjugates as vaccines


*Corresponding author
The University of Queensland, School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia


Peptide-based vaccines overcome most side effects associated with classical vaccines and elicit a very specific immune response. However, peptides itself are very poor immunogens and must be delivered with an immunostimulant to achieve the desired immune response. Very few adjuvants are available for vaccine formulation because most known adjuvants (usually pathogen-derived) are too toxic for human use. Therefore a delivery system is required to overcome the poor immunogenicity of peptides without causing toxic side effects. Recently, a polymer-based delivery strategy for peptide vaccines was proposed. The delivery platform described herein was able to induce both humoral and cellular immunity against short peptide epitopes to target either Group A Streptococcus infection or cervical cancer.


Peptide-based subunit vaccines
Traditional vaccines are based on whole pathogens, while modern vaccines usually incorporate the smallest antigenic components necessary to induce the desired immune response. Although most new vaccines are based on recombinant proteins, the use of minimal immunogenic components is a growing field within vaccine design. These components are usually comprised of short segments of either antigenic proteins/peptides (e.g. vaccine against hookworm (1)) or, less commonly, carbohydrates (e.g. vaccine against pneumococcal infection (2)). Peptide vaccines possess several advantages over classical or whole protein based approaches. Peptide vaccines (a) can be designed to recognize certain pathogen-associated targets which do not need to be immunodominant in nature; (b) do not include unnecessary components, drastically reducing the risk of autoimmune or allergic responses; (c) do not have the potential to cause infection and their production does not require the use of microorganisms; (d) can be produced under good manufacturing practices (GMP) with relative ease; (e) are normally water-soluble ...

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