Clinical Review Science, medicine, and the future

New vaccine development

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 01 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1315

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Gregory A Poland, chief (,
  2. Dennis Murray, senior research fellowb,
  3. Ruben Bonilla-Guerrero, senior research fellowa
  1. a Mayo Vaccine Research Group, 611C Guggenheim Building, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, 200 First Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
  2. b Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
  1. Correspondence to: G A Poland

    Vaccines are hailed as one of the most important public health achievements of the 20th century.1 In the next five to 15 years, new vaccines and new vaccine delivery technology will fundamentally change how clinicians prevent and treat disease, with a substantial impact on public health. This review describes recent developments in the basic science underpinning the development of new vaccines and summarises the potential of these vaccines to treat and prevent a wide range of infectious and non-infectious diseases.25 In addition, research is being carried out on much needed vaccines for the developing world for diseases such as malaria, hookworm, dengue, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, shigella, and tuberculosis, but these are beyond the scope of this brief review.

    Summary points

    New prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines will prevent and potentially cure disease by providing people with the necessary immunological tools

    Advances in current vaccines such as conjugated pneumococcal vaccines for adults, nasal spray vaccines for influenza, and adult acellular pertussis vaccines will provide an efficient way to produce longlasting protective immunity

    Development of vaccines against non-infectious diseases (such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease) and nicotine and cocaine dependence will provide alternative treatments

    Vaccines against biological weapons will be possible by advances in DNA vaccines

    New vaccine delivery technology will provide easier delivery routes (such as transcutaneous, depot, nasal, and oral delivery) without compromising efficacy


    We searched PubMed and Medline databases (1995-2001), as well as our own libraries, for articles of relevance to this brief review.

    New vaccines against infectious diseases

    Development of DNA vaccines

    One approach generating great interest is that of inducing protective immune responses by injecting engineered DNA sequences from infectious organisms against which protection is desired. If an antigen can be identified it is possible to insert the DNA sequence coding for the protein antigen into a carrier genome (such as several of …

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