Currently, acne is treated with either topical or oral medications. In both cases, the success rates are inconsistent, and some side effects could emerge. Worldwide, tens of thousands of people are affected, the majority of which are teenagers. Now, following a series of experiments on lab mice and human tissues, scientists have shown that the use of antibodies created in the laboratory to target a toxin produced by the P. Acnes bacteria can prevent the inflammatory response leading to the development of those annoying skin lesions. Practically, they are on the right track for an acne vaccine.
“Current treatment options are not effective. Once validated by a large-scale clinical trial, our results will have an impact on hundreds of millions of people suffering from acne,” says Chun-Ming Huang, the study’s leading author. “Current treatment options are not effective or poorly tolerated by 85% of adolescents and more than 40 million adults in the United States. New therapies, safe and effective, are needed,” he added.
A toxic protein secreted by P. Acnes bacteria, called the CAMP Factor, contributed to the development of the inflammatory pathway expressed in pimples, papules, nodules, and other cysts.
An acne vaccine is finally possible against the most prevalent P. Acnes bacteria strains
According to the new study, issued in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Chun-Ming Huang and his colleagues sought to confirm that the CAMP Factor was the main driving force for inflammatory acne in humans and whether an acne vaccine is possible.
Their results in mice indicate that antibodies to CAMP Factor 2, a version of the toxin that appears to occur in all five human strains of P. Acnes bacteria, have significantly decreased the expression of an inflammatory signaling molecule called interleukin 8 or IL-8.
Also, acne lesions in human patients treated with CAMP Factor 2 antibodies have shown significant reductions in IL-8 and another similar molecule.
Now that working antibodies against acne has been identified, the team of researchers hopes to create a formula that can be used safely in humans. If successful, researchers predict that an acne vaccine could also be used against other diseases associated with P. Acnes, such as prostate cancer, sepsis, toxic shock syndrome, heart infections, bone infections, and various post-surgical infections.