What makes our approach unique?
Healthy skin is maintained through a fine balance between our skin’s bacterial communities and our immune system’s capacity to control their growth and behavior. Problems arise when this balance tips in favor of the bacteria, and the immune system loses its ability to adequately respond and control the bacterial invasion and tissue damage.
The essence of our approach is to select the proteins bacteria use to invade human cells, hide from the immune system or evade control, and then use these proteins to strengthen the skin’s immune system and teach it to respond in a more effective way.
How does the immune system distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria that live on our skin?
The immune system works like an army that protects our body. Our skin has its own immune system, which has a difficult task: to defend the skin. At specific locations and under specific conditions, skin-colonizing microbes can turn from being our friends to being our enemies. The conditions that induce a significantly higher rate of bacterial growth or metabolic activity can irritate the skin, or lead to changes in the way our immune system responds. For example, an increase in sebum secretion within the skin’s pores supports the growth and increased metabolic activity of the acne-associated bacterium, P. acnes. Significant changes in P. acnes’ growth and behavior can damage the skin’s barrier, which usually protects us from the external environment. This acts as a ‘danger’ signal, alerting the skin’s immune response to prevent P. acnes from invading the skin and causing more serious infections. If the bacteria simply remains on the skin’s surface, and doesn’t damage our cells and breach the skin’s protective barrier, this immune response is not triggered. Our immune system knows when to respond and how to keep our skin protected and healthy.
How safe can an immune therapy be against P. acnes ?
The bacteria on our skin produce various proteins, some of which increase the bacteria’s virulence (the ability to invade host tissue, and better resist or survive an immune response). We identify the proteins that contribute to bacterial virulence, and create a high quality, sterile material based on their amino acid sequence. This material is then presented to the skin’s immune cells in the most optimal way, to teach them how to build a more effective defense. By selecting the bacterial proteins which are most effective at training an immune response, we can ensure that the response is limited to the virulent bacterial factors and doesn’t cause any unwanted activity against our own cells, or against the friendly bacteria that do not express these proteins. The specificity of the immune response will ensure that the therapy is safe, because it will only be activated when the bacterium breaches the skin’s barrier or ‘misbehaves’ .
When will our product be on the market?
The development of any therapeutic product takes many years, because scientists cannot simply develop the product in the laboratory. Scientific research is simply the first step in a long process. After several years of intense research, the product has to be manufactured under highly controlled conditions and be tested extensively to ensure safety. Our product will only be available on the market after being tested in clinical trials. Our first clinical trial will begin in the summer of 2021, but subsequent additional clinical studies will take several more years to complete. We are sorry that this process cannot be sped up, due to the many regulations we are required to observe.
Is it going to be available worldwide?
Yes, our product will be available in many different parts of the world.
How can we support you and help you in your efforts?
The best way you can help us is by sharing your stories, not giving up hope and not letting acne take away your enjoyment of life. We know that it may seem difficult, but together we will succeed.