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A New Vaccine for Acne Could Become A Reality Soon

Acne, vaccination, skincare, dermatologyA new study published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology describes the possibility of a vaccine created against acne. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that antibodies against a toxin that is secreted by bacteria during acne vulgaris can help reduce inflammation of acne lesions on the skin.

Acne is a persistent problem that affects hundreds of millions of adolescents and adults around the World. The current treatment options of available to treat acne are often not effective or tolerable for about 85% of people who suffer from acne. Some current medicines have also been known to cause terrible side effects such as skin dryness, irritation, to more severe ones such as depression, suicidal thoughts, and birth defects. An acne vaccine could be the key to circumventing these adverse side effects of individuals who suffer from acne.

This vaccine is the first of it’s kind to target a bacterial specimen that already lives within the human skin instead of a foreign invading pathogen. Researchers began by first demonstrating the toxin secreted from the Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), called Christie-Atkins-Munch-Peterson (CAMP) factor, is able to induce inflammatory responses. Investigators then explored if they could inhibit that inflammation by using antibodies to neutralize this factor in mice and ex vivo in human skin cells. Their results showed that the application of monoclonal antibodies to CAMP 2 factor was able to decrease the inflammatory response in both systems. The findings support P. acnes CAMP factor as a promising target for acne immunotherapy. This discovery is of particular importance because it is the first published observation of CAMP factor being implemented in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. In the future, this group hopes to focus on creating a non-toxic targeted vaccine against acne that will be safe for human application.

The Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Propionibacterium acnes CAMP Factor-Targeted Acne Vaccines (June 2018)

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  • Both the significance of the findings and the need for continuing research were expressed in an accompanying commentary. "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 of 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," wrote Emmanuel Contassot, PhD, Dermatology Department, University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine of the University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
  • The choice of the antigen to be targeted is critical, not only as a determinant of the efficacy of the vaccine, but also to minimize possible unintended effects or cross-reactivity impairing the microbial equilibrium and skin barrier homeostasis. Future studies will address these factors and focus on engineering a non-toxic chemical or targeted vaccine formulation for its human application.
  • The findings support P. acnes CAMP factor as a promising target for acne immunotherapy. This is an important observation since CAMP factor had not been previously implicated in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. The study also provided a human acne model using acne biopsies, as there is not a fully satisfactory animal model for acne studies.