Asthma, Arthritis, Starfish Slime Treatment

Scotland marine biologists may have the answer to inflammatory conditions, using the non-stick goo from a starfish.

Scientists from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), have been studying goo produced from the spiny starfish usually located in the waters Scotland and other areas of the British Isles. The goo just may be essential in treatments.

Dr. Charlie Bavington, founder and managing director of Glycomar, marine technology company based at SAMS. Talked about this new research with the media.

During an interview with BBC, Dr. Bavington had shown how the starfish produces the slime. Within a matter of seconds of holding the spiny starfish goo had started to ooze.

This goo is actually the starfish’s mechanism for defense and prevents debris from sticking to its body.

Dr. Bavington states the compound which held their interest was the goo. The purified compound looks much like white powder and they are working with chemists to produce a man made version.

The scientists are hopeful that the can pound can perform for blood vessels what it does for the starfish, stop things from sticking.

Inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis occurs when the bodies natural immune reaction to infection overacts and the white blood cells adhere to and build up on the inside blood vessel walls, causing tissue damage.

Starfish are constantly bathed in micro-organisms, bacteria, larvae, and virus all of which wish to adhere to the body. However, the goo which the emit guards them from the continuing invasion by making their bodies too slippery to stick.

Dr. Bavington states starfish are much better than Teflon, they have a very productive anti-fouling surface for the prevention of things sticking.

Scientists want to observe if the compounds they have isolated from the starfish’s goo could be produced into a medication that coats blood vessels that flows through without sticking to the sides.

Human cells stick from a flowing medium to blood vessel walls. Scientists thought they could learn something from how the starfish stops this action, so they could find a way for the prevention to be used in humans.

Professor Clive Page, pharmacology at King’s College in London, is collaborating with Dr. Bavington on this research. Professor Page notes that the discovery of this substance in starfish goo has greatly lessened the usual time span in the development of a new treatment.

Professor Page continues usually scientists screen hundreds of compounds before they find a lead.

Glycobiology is the field of research in which this field is associated to, a branch of biology which studies the structure, biosynthesis, and functions of sugar chains and saccharides.

Saccharides exist on cell surfaces, they intervene the interaction between cells and cells and extracellular matrix and effector molecules.

The impact for arthritis on Americans is on the up climb and The World Health Organization indicates that 300 million people endure asthma with that number also increasing each year.

Many persons are looking toward alternative treatments for medical conditions due largely to the facts that medications carry numerous side effects and conventional treatments most of the times do not provide relief.

For inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis there are alternative treatments that are used for both conditions.


Chiropractic care has been demonstrated to aide asthma and arthritis.

For arthritis spinal manipulations can greatly decrease the pain, provide normal functioning along with decreasing fluid build up in the joints. The treatments have been proven effective through scientific research for both genetic and non-genetic forms.

Chiropractic is also a parents first choice for asthma treatments for their children. Adults and children have noted relief from their asthma symptoms after chiropractic care. By correcting spinal misalignment it has a positive effect on asthma. Significant improvements in symptoms, reduction of cortisol levels, few asthma attacks and in some cases medications were no longer required.

Chiropractors use a variety of treatments beside manipulations which include massage and hot and cold therapy, nutritional and herbal education/advice along with electric stimulation with TENS units.


Acupuncture has been established for effectiveness in a variety of conditions and diseases.

Several studies have noted that acupuncture can provide relief for arthritis symptoms. Acupuncture has decreased the need for surgery such as for osteoarthritis of the knee by at least twenty-five percent.

Acupuncture based on theory energy flows through the human body in positive and negative forces (ying and yang). By using particular points usually upper back and hand for asthma, it can aide in breathing and decrease the occurrence of attacks.

Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is Anchor for Allvoices

Seaweed as Biofuel? Metabolic Engineering Makes It a Viable Option

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2010) — Is red seaweed a viable future biofuel? Now that a University of Illinois metabolic engineer has developed a strain of yeast that can make short work of fermenting galactose, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

"When Americans think about biofuel crops, they think of corn, miscanthus, and switchgrass. ln small island or peninsular nations, though, the natural, obvious choice is marine biomass," said Yong-Su Jin, a U of I assistant professor of microbial genomics and a faculty member in its Institute for Genomic Biology.

Producers of biofuels made from terrestrial biomass crops have had difficulty breaking down recalcitrant fibers and extracting fermentable sugars. The harsh pretreatment processes used to release the sugars also resulted in toxic byproducts, inhibiting subsequent microbial fermentation, he said.

But marine biomass can be easily degraded to fermentable sugars, and production rates and range of distribution are higher than terrestrial biomass, he said.

"However, making biofuels from red seaweed has been problematic because the process yields both glucose and galactose, and until now galactose fermentation has been very inefficient," he said.

But Jin and his colleagues have recently identified three genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the microbe most often used to ferment the sugars, whose overexpression increased galactose fermentation by 250 percent when compared to a control strain.

"This discovery greatly improves the economic viability of marine biofuels," he said.

Overexpression of one gene in particular, a truncated form of the TUP1 gene, sent galactose fermentation numbers soaring. The new strain consumed both sugars (glucose and galactose) almost three times faster than the control strain — 8 versus 24 hours, he said.

"When we targeted this protein, the metabolic enzymes in galactose became very active. We can see that this gene is part of a regulating or controlling system," he said.

According to Jin, galactose is one of the most abundant sugars in marine biomass so its enhanced fermentation will be industrially useful for seaweed biofuel producers.

Marine biomass is an attractive renewable source for the production of biofuels for three reasons:

  • production yields of marine plant biomass per unit area are much higher than those of terrestrial biomass
  • marine biomass can be depolymerized relatively easily compared to other biomass crops because it does not contain recalcitrant lignin and cellulose crystalline structures
  • the rate of carbon dioxide fixation by marine biomass is much higher than by terrestrial biomass, making it an appealing option for sequestration and recycling of carbon dioxide, he said.

Co-authors are Suk-Jin Ha of the U of I’s Institute of Genomic Biology; Ki-Sung Lee, Min-Eui Hong, Suk-Chae Jung, and Dae-Hyuk Kweon of Sungkyunkwan University; Byoung Jo Yu, Hyun Min Koo, Sung-Min Park, and Jae Chan Park of the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology; and Jin-Ho Seo of Seoul National University. Funding was provided by the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology; the BioGreen 21 Program, Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea; and the Korea Research Foundation.

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