8.10.11

Acne Vaccine



Sounds like a miracle, doesn’t it? 
Prayers from millions of people who suffer from adolescent and/or adult acne would be answered if it happens. A vaccine company Sanofi Pasteur from France has partnered up with University of California, San Diego, to develop an investigational vaccine for acne. It’s still a long shot away but preliminary work is already in progress. 

The vaccine would target a protein called CAMP made by the Propionibacterium acnes. Instead of killing the bacteria, like current antimicrobial acne treatments (topical antibiotics and benzyl peroxide) the vaccine would basically render the bacteria harmless. Simply eradicating Propionibacterium acnes is not viable because it still has important functions to perform on the surface of the skin. By targeting the protein thought to be responsible for the inflammation, just that function can be controlled, leaving the bacteria to perform other functions that are still necessary. And, unlike antibiotics, there would be no worry of developing resistant strains of bacteria. Plus, the vaccine wouldn't harm other bacteria. The proposed vaccine may be delivered locally, using micro needles, within the skin of people with acne.

Before you shout, "sign me up!" remember that this is still in the developmental stage. Even if all research goes as planned, and they are actually able to develop an acne vaccine, it will most likely be years before this is ready for the public.

And though I'm thrilled about the idea I have doubts that a vaccine would actually work as a single miracle cure. As we know, bacteria are only one factor that contributes to acne. Other factors include a proliferation of dead skin cells, retention hyperkeratosis and overactive sebaceous glands. We already know that treatments that target just one factor of acne pathogenesis don't really do much to clear the skin. Combination approach targeting the multiple causes of acne gets much better results. Exciting stuff would be to have a new weapon in our fight against the age old acne.