Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(3):244-260. doi:10.7150/ntno.19796 This issue


Nanoparticle Vaccines Adopting Virus-like Features for Enhanced Immune Potentiation

Saborni Chattopadhyay1, 2, Jui-Yi Chen1, Hui-Wen Chen3, 4, Che-Ming Jack Hu1, 4✉

1. Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan;
2. Taiwan International Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine, National Yang-Ming University and Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan;
3. Department of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan;
4. Research Center for Nanotechnology and Infectious Diseases, Taipei, Taiwan.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Chattopadhyay S, Chen JY, Chen HW, Hu CMJ. Nanoparticle Vaccines Adopting Virus-like Features for Enhanced Immune Potentiation. Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(3):244-260. doi:10.7150/ntno.19796. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Synthetic nanoparticles play an increasingly significant role in vaccine design and development as many nanoparticle vaccines show improved safety and efficacy over conventional formulations. These nanoformulations are structurally similar to viruses, which are nanoscale pathogenic organisms that have served as a key selective pressure driving the evolution of our immune system. As a result, mechanisms behind the benefits of nanoparticle vaccines can often find analogue to the interaction dynamics between the immune system and viruses. This review covers the advances in vaccine nanotechnology with a perspective on the advantages of virus mimicry towards immune potentiation. It provides an overview to the different types of nanomaterials utilized for nanoparticle vaccine development, including functionalization strategies that bestow nanoparticles with virus-like features. As understanding of human immunity and vaccine mechanisms continue to evolve, recognizing the fundamental semblance between synthetic nanoparticles and viruses may offer an explanation for the superiority of nanoparticle vaccines over conventional vaccines and may spur new design rationales for future vaccine research. These nanoformulations are poised to provide solutions towards pressing and emerging human diseases.

Keywords: Nanoparticle vaccine, lymphatic delivery, repetitive antigen display, vaccine nanotechnology, cellular immunity, anticancer vaccine.