A relatively simple and effective method to follow the movement of pharmaceutical preparations such as vaccines in biodistribution studies is to radiolabel the components. Whilst single radiolabelling is common practice, in vaccine systems containing adjuvants the ability to follow both the adjuvant and the antigen is favourable. To this end, we have devised a dual-radiolabelling method whereby the adjuvant (liposomes) is labelled with 3H and the antigen (a subunit protein) with 125I. This model is stable and reproducible; we have shown release of the radiolabels to be negligible over periods of up to 1 week in foetal calf serum at 37° C. In this paper we describe the techniques which enable the radiolabelling of various components, assessing stability and processing of samples which all for their application in biodistribution studies. Furthermore we provide examples derived from our studies using this model in tuberculosis vaccine biodistribution studies.
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