Progress towards the creation of an acne vaccine

An experimental vaccine developed by an international team of dermatologists can neutralize inflammation associated with skin lesions observed in people with acne.

The Acne vulgaris is a skin condition that affects about 85% of adolescents and young adults to different degrees. It is associated with the overproduction of a bacterium, Cutibacterium acnes , which accounts for about 60% of the bacteria that populate the skin of the human face.

Dermatologist Chun-Ming Huang of the University of California, San Diego, and his German and Taiwanese colleagues have determined that a certain factor (CAMP 2) secreted by the bacterium Cutibacterium acnes is the main source of inflammation of skin associated with acne lesions.

On the basis of this knowledge, the researchers attempted to inhibit this inflammation by using antibodies contained in a vaccine to neutralize the virulence of CAMP 2 factor in mice and in human skin cells.

The researchers directed these antibodies against a toxin secreted by the bacterium Cutibacterium acnes , which reduced the inflammatory response in acne lesions.

Current medications often do not provide optimal results and can cause side effects that are difficult to tolerate, such as skin dryness and irritation, but also symptoms associated with depression.

An acne vaccine could minimize the potential side effects of topical retinoids and antibiotics, the current treatment options.

This anti-inflammatory vaccine would be the first to target bacteria already present in human skin.

Current treatment options are often not effective or tolerable for many adolescents and adults with this multifactorial inflammatory skin disorder.

Dr. Chun-Ming Huang

For this reason, “new safe and effective therapies are greatly needed,” he says.

Once our results are validated by a large-scale clinical trial, the potential impact of our work will be enormous for the hundreds of millions of people suffering from acne.

Dr. Chun-Ming Huang

The details of this work are published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology y .

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