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News

Can acne protect against cancer?

Society For General Microbiology : 01 November, 2001  (Company News)
Acne is the scourge of teenagers everywhere, but according to an article published in the November issue of the magazine Microbiology Today the bacteria which cause this disease may protect sufferers from other infections and cancer in later life. Dr Anne Eady of the Skin Research Centre at the University of Leeds says in the article 'there may be advantages to having acne. The presence of propionibacteria on the skin triggers an immune response, which may constitute a first line immune defence system against infections and cancer.'
Acne is the scourge of teenagers everywhere, but according to an article published in the November issue of the magazine Microbiology Today the bacteria which cause this disease may protect sufferers from other infections and cancer in later life.

Dr Anne Eady of the Skin Research Centre at the University of Leeds says in the article 'there may be advantages to having acne. The presence of propionibacteria on the skin triggers an immune response, which may constitute a first line immune defence system against infections and cancer.'

'Studies in animal models have revealed that P. acnes promotes a Th-1 type response to tumours, viruses, parasites and intracellular bacterial infections. There is also evidence that certain skin cancers are less common in past acne sufferers than age- and sex-matched non-acne subjects,' reports Dr Eady.

The skin research group in Leeds are currently examining the onset acne by monitoring sebum production in schoolchildren throughout puberty. It has been shown that acne can develop in children as young as six. Dr Anne Eady and colleagues aim to use these results to develop a predictive test for acne in order to offer at risk children early intervention to prevent or reduce the severity of the disease.

However, Dr Eady says, 'If acne is eliminated we may begin to pay a much higher price as the incidence of certain cancers starts to rise. One day we may all be popping pills of P. acnes in a bid to stay healthy.'
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