Marine scientists from the Scottish Association for Marine Science are examining the slime that coats starfish to see how this could be used to help control inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis and asthma.
The slime that coats the spiny starfish is slippery and according to experts, is better than Teflon in its ability to stop things sticking to it.
It is this slime that protects the starfish from debris, and other bacteria and so on from attaching to it, spurring researchers to hope that this could provide a vital weapon against inflammatory diseases.
Inflammatory illnesses are caused due to the body’s out of control response to infection which causes white blood cells to build up and stick to the sides causing tissue damage.
Lead researcher Dr Charlie Bavington is hopeful that the slime can be effectively used to coat the insides of the blood vessels and permit the effective flow of white blood cells. So if it can be understood how the star fish manage to create this effective armor, this can be replicated in humans.
This will also help reduce the amount of drugs a patient has to consume and thereby lower the amount of side effects experienced.
This is one more example of how we are constantly learning from nature about new medicines.