What do hepatitis B, measles and meningitis have in common? They’re all currently vaccine-preventable diseases. Since the inception of these life-saving injections, countless people have been spared from becoming sick. And while vaccines have certainly done their job against infections, it turns out they may soon be used for another purpose entirely: preventing acne.
In new research published by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, scientists determined that a type of cell that the body produces in response to bacteria on the skin can reduce inflammation caused by acne, Newsweek reports. According to the scientists, a future vaccine would target a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, which is found on human skin and secretes a toxin called Christie-Atkins-Munch-Peterson (CAMP) factor. This toxin is thought to be a major cause of inflamed acne, so by targeting it with neutralizing antibodies in a potential vaccine, people will develop clearer skin.
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The scientists tested this theory, and consequently noticed a reduction in inflammation in both mice and cultured human skin cells, giving them hope that this could be a major step forward towards finalizing a vaccine for acne.
“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,” Chun-Ming Huang, from the Department of Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego, and the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering at the National Central University, Taiwan, explained in a statement.
Unfortunately, the current medications for acne come with pretty severe side effects, so these findings provide hope that curing acne might one day be as easy as a simple injection. While this new research clearly needs additional studies in order to become a real possibility for acne-sufferers, it’s certainly showing some promising results. We’ll be sure to update this post if additional information on the vaccine is released.