New research published in the scientific journal Nature Communications overnight shows researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered a way to stop immune cells from attacking healthy body tissue.
The discovery holds potential for thousands of Australians living with autoimmune conditions including more than 23,000 Australians living with multiple sclerosis.
Dr Lisa Melton from MS Research Australia said whilst the technique is not unique the results are certainly encouraging.
"Its a very positve step," Dr Melton said.
"Everyday researchers are learning more about autoimmune conditions like MS and finding new ways to treat the condition.
"In the past researchers have focused on developing treatments that attempt to slow the progression of the disease and help people manage symptoms day-to-day.
"Now what we are seeing is work like this at the University of Bristol. It is advanced research looking at stopping autoimmune conditions in their tracks. Its an area that holds a lot of potential."
Dr Melton said it is important to note the University of Bristol research is in very early stages.
"This is an exciting development but to date only small safety studies have been conducted in humans. This research in mice will help refine the approach but it will take some time to ensure it is not only an effective treatment but also a safe treatment for people to use."
For more information visit : http://www.msra.org.au/new-avenues