Scientists move closer to developing acne vaccine

Researchers discover that antibodies to a toxin secreted from bacteria in acne could reduce inflammation in sufferers

A vaccination for acne sufferers could become reality, following new findings by a US researcher.

The research by Chun-Ming Huang from the University of California, San Diego, in the US, revealed that antibodies secreted from bacteria in acne could hold the answer to reducing inflammation in acne sufferers.

The vaccine would be the first to target bacteria already existing in human skin, instead of invading pathogens.

Huang said: “Once validated by a large scale clinical trial, the potential impact of our findings is huge for the hundreds of millions of individuals suffering from acne vulgaris.

“Current treatment options are often not effective or tolerable for many of the 85% adolescents and more than 40 million adults in the US who suffer from this multifactorial cutaneous inflammatory condition.”

The vaccine is said to work by decreasing Christie-Atkins-Munch-Peterson (CAMP) factors, a toxin secreted from the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, in the skin.

It could also avoid adverse effects of topical or systemic retinoids and antibodies, which are found in current treatment options.

Emmanuel Contassot, from the University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zürich, said: “While addressing an unmet medical need and providing an appealing approach, acne immunotherapies that target P. acnes-derived factors have to be cautiously designed to avoid unwanted disturbance and the microbiome that guarantees skin homeostasis.

“Whether or not CAMP factor-targeted vaccines will impact multiple P. acnes subtypes and other commensals has to be determined, but acne immunotherapy presents an interesting avenue to explore nonetheless.”