An acne vaccine could soon become a reality thanks to a recent breakthrough. Scientists have discovered that antibodies to a toxin secreted from bacteria in acne vulgaris can reduce inflammation in acne lesions, meaning the possibility of a vaccine to prevent the condition is becoming more likely.
A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology explained the most recent steps taken by scientists to target bacteria already present in the skin rather than invading pathogens, as most existing acne therapies do.
The team found that CAMP factor, a toxin secreted from the P.acnes bacteria that induces inflammatory responses in the skin, could be neutralised with monoclonal antibodies, demonstrating the findings in mice and ex vivo in human skin cells.
The hope is that a vaccine that works in this way could provide an alternative to current treatment options such as topical retinoids or medication like isotretinoin (known as Roaccutane), which often present adverse effects.
“Current treatment options are often not effective or tolerable for many of the 85% of adolescents and more than 40 million adults in the United States who suffer from this multi-factorial cutaneous inflammatory condition. New, safe and efficient therapies are sorely needed”, said Chun-Ming Huang from the Department of Dermatology at the University of California in San Diego, lead investigator on the study.
However, the team expressed the need for continuing research in order to ensure the vaccine would not disturb the skin microbiome balance and to determine if it would impact acne subtypes.
“Acne immunotherapies that target P.acnes-derived factors have to be cautiously designed to avoid unwanted disturbance of the microbiome that guarantees skin homeostasis”, commented Emmanuel Contassot from the Dermatology Department at the University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zürich in Switzerland, one of the study’s authors.
“Whether or not CAMP factortargeted vaccines will impact multiple P.acnes subtypes and other commensals has to be determined.