Starfish Could Be Key to Treating Asthma and Arthritis

A slimy substance, secreted by starfish, may be the key to treating inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma in the future, according to a new study out of Scotland.

Researchers from the Scottish Association for Marine Science have been studying a species known as the spiny starfish. They say the slimy goo that helps stop debris in the ocean from sticking to the creature is “better than Teflon,” the BBC reported.

The reason why they are so interested in this substance is that it could help white blood cells flow more easily throughout the body. In inflammatory diseases, white blood cells buildup and stick to the blood vessel walls, which can cause tissue damage.

Scientists hope to develop a treatment based on the “starfish slime” that could effectively “coat our blood vessels,” to prevent the buildup, according to the report.

“It is a very similar situation to something sticking to a starfish in the sea,” lead researcher, Dr. Charlie Bavington, told the BBC. “These cells have to stick from a flowing medium to a blood vessel wall, so we thought we could learn something from how starfish prevent this so we could find a way to prevent this in humans.”

Click here to read more from the BBC.