Immune Stimulating Complexes (ISCOMs)

Creative Biolabs is a world leader in the field of vaccine adjuvants development and the platforms of delivery system. With our extensive experience and advanced platform, we are therefore confident in offering the best services for the delivery system for use in vaccine development and guarantee the finest results for our customers all over the world.

Immune stimulating complexes (ISCOMs) delivery system.

Fig.1 Immune stimulating complexes (ISCOMs) delivery system.

Immune Stimulating Complexes

Immune-stimulating complexes (ISCOMs) were invented more than 35 years ago and represent a well-known type of adjuvant delivery system that has been used extensively in various experimental vaccines. The structures of ISCOMs are spherical open cage-like nanoparticulates that are spontaneously formed when mixing together cholesterol, phospholipids and the immune stimulating saponins under a specific stoichiometry along with the vaccine antigen. With a characterization like this, it is important to optimize the formulation, the preparation process, and the storage conditions. ISCOMs show the strong immune stimulating properties and are mainly used as a vaccine adjuvant in order to induce a stronger immune response and longer protection.

Immunostimulation by ISCOMs

The adjuvant activities of matrix formulations parallel those of ISCOMs, inducing high and long-lasting levels of broadly reacting antibodies supported by a balanced Th1/Th2 response including multifunctional T cells and CTLs. ISCOMs could prominently enhance the antigen targeting, uptake, and activity of antigen presenting cells including dendritic and B cells and macrophages resulting in the production of proinflammatory cytokines, above all interleukin IL-1, IL-6, and IL-12. The expression of costimulatory molecules major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II, B7.1 and B7.2, is also enhanced. Furthermore, they can also enhance the Th1 type of response with increased production of IL-2 and interferon γ and were shown to induce a potent immune response in the newborn and to be an efficient delivery system for mucosal administration.

Advantages of ISCOMs

ISCOMs have a unique ability to provoke a full range of immune response to protein antigens, after both parenteral and oral immunization. ISCOM-matrix technology offers several immunological and practical advantages over currently available adjuvants which mainly activate the humoral immune response. Thus, there is an alternative adjuvant able to induce a cell-mediated immune response as well. The adjuvant properties of ISCOM-matrix fulfil the demands of a modern adjuvant: a formulation with dose-sparing capacity, improved quality of immune responses and an acceptable safety profile. In contrast to most adjuvant formulations, ISCOMs and matrix adjuvant do not exert adjuvant activity through depot or slow-release effects. Moreover, the ISCOM-matrix technology is highly efficient and its long-lasting immune responses allow reduction of the antigen dose. The technology can also be of huge value in a situation when manufacturing capacity is inadequate in the face of an emerging threat such as an influenza pandemic. The ISCOM-Matrix would offer great production advantages and flexibility in vaccine design due to the method of simply mixed with the antigen post-manufacturing. With the outstanding advantages, ISCOMs have a widely application in the vaccine development.

Creative Biolabs is a leader in the field of vaccine adjuvant development and has focused on the platform of immune-stimulating complexes technology for many years. We have experts who are able to help you with the development of the ISCOMs for use in vaccines. If you are interested in our services, please contact us for more details.


  1. Karin Lövgren Bengtsson. (2011). "ISCOM technology-based Matrix M™ adjuvant: success in future vaccines relies on formulation." Expert Rev. Vaccines 10(4), 401–403.

All of our products can only be used for research purposes. These vaccine ingredients CANNOT be used directly on humans or animals.

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All of our products can only be used for research purposes. These vaccine ingredients CANNOT be used directly on humans or animals.

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