Recently I made the decision that acne just needs to be cured. So I started research in that vein, and I found that in 2001, scientists started work on an acne vaccine. More specifically, it is an anti-P.acnes bacteria vaccine. Since P. acnes is the bacteria implicated in acne formation and is a major culprit in acne development, if we can somehow turn off its genetic expression, the hope is that we can prevent or cure acne.

A brief history of the vaccine: A company called Corixa worked with a French company to decode the 2.8 milion base pairs that make up the P. acnes genome back in 2001. They then started working on identifying antigens in order to create a vaccine. Glaxo Smith Kline acquired Corixa in 2005. From there, mention of the vaccine seemed to fall off the map, until an article published in 2008 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology surfaced. The article outlined research at the University of California San Diego in which scientists developed vaccines against P. acnes and successfully used the vaccine in both mice and in the lab using human sebum (skin oil) cells.

The trail seems to end there again. I’m in the process of contacting the researchers at UCSD to get more information. I find this area of work fascinating. I’ll keep you posted on anything I uncover. For now, let’s not get our hopes up too much however. Acne development is multi-faceted. While P. acnes plays a part, it is unknown how much it directly causes the other factors in acne development such as pores becoming clogged, oil overproduction, or inflammation.


Leave a Reply

  • JJ

    This would be such an amazing breakthrough. I sure hope they continue with the research.

  • Paul

    Go Dan! You are our only hope!

  • ^_^

    thats really cool

    i hope it happens 🙂

  • Micheal

    Wow Great article. I hope that they do go forward with research for this.
    This would be huge!


  • Tom

    Let’s say that a vaccine will successfully eliminate P-acnes bacteria formation, but there is still pore clogging from overproduction of oils or other causes, will the acne related visual symptoms (pimples/cysts) be gone or they are not dependent on P-acnes bacteria?

  • Sharpy

    Can’t wait to hear more about this!

  • Jim DeSantis

    This would be great news for the millions who suffer from acne and spend major dollars on concoctions and medical treatments that do not provide a “cure” only a control mechanism.


  • Milkoholic17

    I happen to go to UCSD, so if you need any help at all, I would love to help you Dan!

  • clara

    OMFG THIS WOULD BE AWSOME!!! KEEP US UPDATED!!!!! 😀 seriously as soon as this comes out (if it does) im SOOO getting it!

  • poopy

    this would be so awesome!

  • quorum sensing

    This research is worth funding and I wouldn’t wait for Glaxo. A p.acnes vaccine might solve the entire problem for most people, because it is likely that the related problems of clogged follicles result from quorum sensing by p.acnes bacteria. The bacteria live on the skin, and can harmlessly enter the follicles, but when they sense a quorum they change their behavior and texture. Most likely, they become sticky and block desquamation, trapping dead cells to feed the growing colony, which can then pump out more bacteria to find more follicles. It’s a bit like anthills or termite mounds. If you stop the bacteria, or disrupt their ability to sense a quorum, or take away their ability to change behavior when they have a quorum, then you’ll likely stop the whole cycle. (Other problems, like excess oil causing shiny skin, do require other solutions.) Please post whatever you hear from UCSD (or elsewhere), and maybe smaller biotechs can be encouraged too.

  • Jasmine 215

    Hi Dan,

    It is more than time for an Acne vaccine to be developed, it should have been done 100 years ago!

    Too bad they can’t administer this to all children by the age of 10-11 or so, just in time for puberty.

    B5 vitamins and Accutane supposedly will freeze the sebaceous glands in their prepubertal state in most children, causing their skin to stay in that condition supposedly. There are bad side effects to Accutane, however, as most people are aware.

    So that is why they need a cure and/or prevention with a vaccine.

    I read somewhere on the Internet that a group of young men went to a doctor in the 1960s, who then injected them with what sounds like a vaccine for Propriones acne bacterium, and in each case, their severe, disfiguring Acne had cleared and NEVER returned. It sounds like someone pulled it off the market after that though.


  • empty inside

    please, please just release this already i cant live like this any longer!!

  • peggy

    I wonder if the big pharmaceutical companies actually WANT acne cured or prevented. It’s a multi-BILLION dollar gravy train. Keep us posted, Dan. You give hope to the hopeless.

  • k m

    please help god…..make my life livable…please

  • OhSchnap

    I imagine stopping P. acnes in its tracks would do wonders for sufferers with inflammatory issues. I would happily dish out thousands for such a result, regardless of whether I have to card it. 😉