U.S. researchers are working on the development of an acne vaccine. Their new therapeutic approach could turn the dream of millions of teenagers into reality.
A teenager without acne would be the dream of many young people. That dream may soon become a reality thanks to researchers at the University of California (USA). They have shown that antibodies directed against a toxin, itself secreted by the bacteria responsible for inflammatory acne, can reduce this condition. This new therapeutic approach to creating an acne vaccine was detailed in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
Although acne is not a life-threatening disease, its psychological burden is high. In addition, current medications are often insufficient and can cause side effects that are difficult to tolerate, ranging from dryness and skin irritation to suicidal thoughts and increased rates of birth defects. Acne vaccination could therefore circumvent these potential adverse effects.
Preventing the reaction that causes pimples
The researchers’ strategy is to target a toxin, called CAMP, produced by the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) present on the skin. This toxin is thought to cause the inflammatory reaction that produces all types of pimples during adolescence (and sometimes even even after). To be sure, the scientists created antibodies against CAMP and administered them to mice and human skin cells. The results were clear: the inflammatory response was significantly reduced.
This process had already been the subject of an earlier study in 2017. Next, researchers will aim to create an ideal vaccine formula to minimize side effects, such as disruption of the skin’s microbial balance. “Current treatment options are often neither effective nor tolerable for most of the 85 percent of adolescents and 40 million adults in the United States who suffer from this multifactorial inflammatory skin condition. New safe and effective treatments are needed,” concluded Chun-Ming Huang, senior investigator in the University’s Department of Dermatology.