Better acne treatments may be on the horizon after researchers discovered genes that appear to increase the risk of the skin disorder.
The study from Brisbane’s QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute has also confirmed a link between the skin condition and the likes of breast and prostate cancer.
QIMR Berghofer researcher Miguel Renteria helped lead what was the world’s largest genetic study of acne, uncovering 29 new genes they believe improve the chances of the skin disease developing.
Dr Renteria – who headed the study with Professor Michael Simpson from King’s College London – hoped it was a step toward improving treatments for acne, which is the world’s most prevalent skin disorder.
“This is a big leap forward in our understanding of the genetic basis and biological causes of this, a condition that is estimated to affect more than 85% of young people to some degree, with up to 8% having severe disease,” he said.
“These findings open up some very exciting pathways for the development of new and much-needed treatments for people with severe acne.”
The study also identified shared genetic causes between acne and hormonal cancers.
The research was the first to confirm a “causal link” after previous studies had indicated that people with severe acne were more likely to develop breast cancer.
“We need to investigate this relationship further, but it means severe acne could serve as an early sign to doctors that a patient should be checked or monitored, due to a higher risk of developing hormone-sensitive cancers,” QIMR Berghofer lead researcher Brittany Mitchell said.
The study has been published in the Nature Communications journal. Dr Mitchell said their next step would be to examine why acne affected men and women differently and at what stages of their lives.
Original content from AAP Newsroom. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.