Continuing the discussion of oral cancer, I would like to make mention of a test that is currently being developed by a group of researchers in the US. It is a saliva test and may be a simple, cost-effective way of detecting the presence of oral cancer. Not only could this test be used by physicians, but it might be a way for dentists to assist in early detection as well.
Michigan State University physician Barry Wenig, director of otolaryngology, is pairing up with Delta Dental for this project. The team is looking at developing a saliva test that will help identify biomarkers present in oral cancers previously discovered by UCLA researchers. Wenig and his team would like to create a test that would be capable of detecting even the smallest concentrations of these biochemicals.
Many oral lesions (white lesions) are benign, so a test such as this may help to reduce the number of unnecessary invasive biopsies being performed. The ease of this test could also help detect oral cancers in its early stages. One of the important factors for a successful outcome with oral cancers is early diagnosis and treatment implementation. Otherwise, approximately 60 percent of patients live for more than five years with late stage diagnosis.
As I mentioned before, it would be beneficial that the dental community have access to this type of test due to the frequency of patient follow-up. Many of us follow-up with the dentist every six months.
Wenig and his team will be collaborating with PeriRx, a company that will sponsor upcoming clinical trials with the FDA. This will be a fantastic way for doctors and dentists alike to come together in an effort to battle yet another type of cancer. This may be a life-saving test for many without the use of needles, and may be as simple as splitting saliva into a cup!
Stay tuned for further development!
Saliva test could dramatically increase detection of oral cancer