Sanofi-Pasteur to make an Acne Vaccine

Written by on September 27, 2011 in research with 1 Comment


A vaccine for acne ? Well it appears that one may actually become a reality. A recent article in the New Scientists explains how targeting a protein called CAMP can lead to a form of Propionibacterium acnes (the believed main culprit in acne) that can function but not produce the inflammation that leads to acne.

Great news.

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.

The modified protein required was cultured in the asian vegetable known as daikon.

The article mentions that the proposed vaccine may be “delivered locally, using microneedles, within the skin of people with acne.” which sounds a bit scary don’t you think?

Hope for Rosacea?

Whilst there is little discussion suggesting the involvement of P. acnes in rosacea, the approach undertaken is still promising.

If researchers are able to isolate the inflammatory pathway that leads to rosacea symptoms, then being able to turn off only the slice that is misbehaving would be a major breakthrough.

I still hold hope that one day we might find a rosacea gene, leading to a promise of a rosacea vaccine. One can dream, right?

In development: a vaccine for acne

Pimples develop when oil-producing sebaceous glands in the skin become clogged. As the oxygen level within the pore falls, some of its otherwise benign bacterial inhabitants turn nasty and start killing skin cells to break into the blood. In response the immune system unleashes local inflammation, bringing in white blood cells and germ-killing chemicals to battle the bacteria – creating a pimple.

The chief culprit is the main bacterium in sebaceous glands, Propionibacterium acnes. Current acne treatments, such as benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics, aim to kill the bacterium. But acne can be chronic, and long-term use of antibiotics can lead to drug resistance in P. acnes, while other antibacterials damage the skin – partly by killing off its normal bacteria.

This showed that antibodies to P. acnes might reduce pimples. However, a stable community of normal skin bacteria is known to protects the skin from colonisation by nastier germs. A vaccine that encourages the body to indiscriminately attack P. acnes could cause worse trouble than acne.

So the team tried a different approach: targeting a protein called CAMP, which is used by various bacteria to kill host cells. The team found a CAMP gene in the DNA sequence of P. acnes, which coded for a protein that killed cells in sebaceous glands and triggered inflammation.

The team put the gene into young daikon radish plants, which duly made the protein. They then sprayed tiny amounts of the ground-up leaves into the noses of mice, which caused the mice to make antibodies to CAMP.

More Reading

For those who want a more meaty description of the biology involved;

Passive immunoprotection targeting a secreted CAMP factor of Propionibacterium acnes as a novel immunotherapeutic for acne vulgaris

Vaccine, Volume 29, Issue 17, 12 April 2011, Pages 3230-3238. Mode of Action of Adjuvants

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) bacteria play a key role in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.

Although our previous studies have demonstrated that vaccines targeting a surface sialidase or bacterial particles exhibit a preventive effect against P. acnes, the lack of therapeutic activities and incapability of neutralizing secretory virulence factors motivate us to generate novel immunotherapeutics.

In this study, we develop an immunotherapeutic antibody to secretory Christie–Atkins–Munch-Peterson (CAMP) factor of P. acnes.

Via agroinfiltration, P. acnes CAMP factor was encapsulated into the leaves of radishes. ICR mice intranasally immunized with whole leaves expressing CAMP factor successfully produced neutralizing antibodies that efficiently attenuated P. acnes-induced ear swelling and production of macrophage-inflammatory protein-2. Passive neutralization of CAMP factor enhanced immunity to eradicate P. acnes at the infection site without influencing bacterial growth elsewhere.

We propose that CAMP factor is a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of various P. acnes-associated diseases and highlight the concept of neutralizing P. acnes virulence without disturbing the bacterial commensalism in human micorbiome.

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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1 Reader Comment

  1. please says:

    this may save my life

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