On and within our skin, numerous bacteria live together, forming a complex microbial community. One of these types is Cutibacterium acnes, a bacterium that naturally occurs in the pores of the skin. Researchers have managed to manipulate this bacterium so that it can produce a substance suitable for treating acne.
Combatting acne with natural skin bacteria
Until now, it had not been previously successful to genetically manipulate C. acnes. It is incredibly challenging to introduce DNA into the genome of this bacterium and make it produce specific proteins. Because C. acnes naturally occurs in the pores of the skin, it is an attractive bacterium for scientists to work with. The bacterium lives in the hair follicles of the skin where sebum is produced and plays a crucial role in regulating processes in the skin. Researchers have succeeded in getting the bacterium to produce the substance NGAL, which can help inhibit sebum production in the skin. This molecule is also present in isotretinoin, a medicine for the treatment of acne.
Treatment of skin diseases with smart microbes
The technology that researchers have developed is now being used for the treatment of acne, but they see more possibilities. With the help of this technology, 'smart microbes' can be developed, which can, for example, be applied in the regulation of the immune system. This could open new doors for the treatment of chronic skin conditions.
Autor: Corinne Mulder