Altering the characteristics of skin may hold the key to preventing auto-immune conditions such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Australian scientists are using mice to test an immunising agent on an area of modified skin.
The University of Tasmania's Greg Wood says it is believed the treatment will allow the naturally over-reactive immune response to be switched off, thus preventing the disease.
"The ultimate aim is to potentially immunise people against a variety of auto-immune diseases," Dr Wood said.
"Really the disease we need to have the antigen we have to have well-characterised.
"One in 30 Australians have some sort of auto-immune diesease so there's
a big population out there to target."