An acne vaccine sounds nothing less than a magic bullet – one pinch, and no more pimples. More so, when it claims to not disturb your hormones. Entering into a world of blemish free skin, scientists from the University of California, San Diego, are now in the process of developing what could be a vaccine for the skin disorder. In case it makes you wonder why it is a big thing, it is because acne, also known as acne vulgaris, is a frustratingly complex condition to be solved just by a jab.
At present, doctors treat severe acne with either hormone regulators (such as the contraceptive pill), or isotretinoin – better known as Roaccutane. But these come with their own side effects (some more severe than others). Most of them don’t offer long-term relief, and worse of all, for some people, they don’t work at all.
Propionibacterium acnes bacteria, which causes acne, secretes a toxin known as Christie-Atkins-Munch-Peterson (CAMP) factor. A UC San Diego team, led by Dr. Chun-Ming Huang, started out by demonstrating that this toxin can induce inflammatory responses in the skin.
Through a series of experiments conducted with mice and extracted human skin cells, the researchers discovered that these responses could be significantly minimized by applying specific monoclonal antibodies to the CAMP factor. It is believed to be a step towards a safe injection to cure acne without involving the hormones and messing up the body’s chemical balance.
“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 percent 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”, it stated.
Turning those antibodies into a human vaccine will be complicated, but at least now we have an idea of what could work. We hope just like it worked its magic on mice, it does on us humans too.