Lauric Acid Fight Acne 644063_10151297859301351_2098434486_n.jpg

A new acne treatment now – nano bombs filled with lauric acid, a US bioengineering graduate student has shown. The acid is found in coconut oil and also in human breast milk.

The student from from the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering developed a "smart delivery system" capable of delivering lauric-acid-filled nano-scale bombs directly to skin-dwelling bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) that cause common acne. The findings have been published in the journal ACS Nanoin March.

On Thursday April 15, bioengineering graduate student Dissaya "Nu" Pornpattananangkul presented her most recent work on this experimental acne-drug-delivery system at Research Expo, the annual research conference of the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Common acne, also known as "acne vulgaris," afflicts more than 85 percent of teenagers and over 40 million people in the United States; and current treatments have undesirable side effects including redness and burning. Lauric-acid-based treatments could avoid these side effects, the UC San Diego researchers say.

"It's a good feeling to know that I have a chance to develop a drug that could help people with acne," said Pornpattananangkul, who performs this research in the Nanomaterials and Nanomedicine Laboratory of UC San Diego NanoEngineering professor Liangfang Zhang from the Jacobs School of Engineering.

The new smart delivery system includes gold nanoparticles attached to surfaces of lauric-acid-filled nano-bombs. The gold nanoparticles keep the nano-bombs (liposomes) from fusing together. The gold nanoparticles also help the liposomes locate acne-causing bacteria based on the skin microenvironment, including pH.