A failed cancer vaccine has given life to a new treatment to tackle asthma.
Successful trials on mice by the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research in Wellington show the vaccine prevents inflammation of the lungs and airways.
The leader of the institute's immune cell biology programme, Franca Ronchese, said the mice's immune systems attacked and destroyed the vaccine.
But she said that response can be manipulated to prevent the kind of overreaction that causes asthma.
"Cell types which are found in your airway that take up these allergens and we think we can possibly stop that part of the process.
"Obviously this is the first line of contact of the allergens with the body and if we could stop at that stage we should be able to stop all the chain of events that comes after that."
It will be at least five years before they know if the vaccine works on humans, Professor Ronchese said.