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Starfish could cure asthma
London, Dec 10 (IANS):
Published on 10 Dec. 2010 10:43 PM IST
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Starfish may soon provide treatment for inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis, say experts.
The slimy substance that coats the spiny starfish was ‘better than Teflon’ at stopping debris from sticking to the creature that sits on the ocean floor, thus keeping it clean, researchers from the Scottish Association for Marine Science have found. They believe this non-stick property could provide a vital new weapon against inflammatory illness, Daily Mail reported Thursday citing experts. These conditions are caused when the body’s natural response to infections accelerates out of control.
Infection-fighting white blood cells begin to build up in the blood vessels and stick to the sides, which can cause tissue damage. Lead researcher Charlie Bavington said the starfish slime could be used to coat the blood vessels which would let the white blood cells to flow easily.
“It is a very similar situation to something sticking to a starfish in the sea,” he said.
“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.”
This could reduce the amount of drugs patients would need to take, which often have unwanted side effects.

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