Advances in nanomaterial vaccine strategies to address infectious diseases impacting global health.


Despite the overwhelming success of vaccines in preventing infectious diseases, there remain numerous globally devastating diseases without fully protective vaccines, particularly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), malaria and tuberculosis. Nanotechnology approaches are being developed both to design new vaccines against these diseases as well as to facilitate their global implementation. The reasons why a given pathogen may present difficulties for vaccine design are unique and tied to the co-evolutionary history of the pathogen and humans, but there are common challenges that nanotechnology is beginning to help address. In each case, a successful vaccine will need to raise immune responses that differ from the immune responses raised by normal infection. Nanomaterials, with their defined compositions, commonly modular construction, and length scales allowing the engagement of key immune pathways, collectively facilitate the iterative design process necessary to identify such protective immune responses and achieve them reliably. Nanomaterials also provide strategies for engineering the trafficking and delivery of vaccine components to key immune cells and lymphoid tissues, and they can be highly multivalent, improving their engagement with the immune system. This Review will discuss these aspects along with recent nanomaterial advances towards vaccines against infectious disease, with a particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.