A vaccine is urgently needed to stem the global resurgence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Vaccines targeting the erythrocytic stage are often viewed as an anti-disease strategy. By contrast, infection might be completely averted by a vaccine against the liver stage, a pre-erythrocytic stage during which the parasite multiplies 10000-fold within hepatocytes. Sterilizing immunity can be conferred by inoculating humans with irradiated pre-erythrocytic parasites, and a recombinant pre-erythrocytic vaccine partially protects humans from infection. Liver-stage antigen-1, one of a few proteins known to be expressed by liver-stage parasites, holds particular promise as a vaccine. Studies of naturally exposed populations have consistently related immune responses against this antigen to protection.