University of Texas researchers believe that they have identified and created a test to detect protein markers within human saliva that point to increased possibility of having breast cancer. Considering people visit the dentist more frequently than their doctor, and that said dentist has ready access to your saliva, its quite possible that it will be the dentist performing routine breast cancer testing in the future.
The study is being applied to a “lab-on-a-chip” technology platform developed by biochemists at The University of Texas at Austin. The ultimate goal is to bring this type of diagnostic test, which is capable of detecting the presence of cancer before a tumor forms, into the dental office or other health care facilities. The technology aims to improve the ease and effectiveness with which dental professionals and other health care providers can provide quick, accurate diagnostic information and physician referrals to their patients…
Streckfus [Charles Streckfus, D.D.S., University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston professor of diagnostic sciences with an expertise in salivary function and molecular epidemiology –ed.] and his team compared the levels of expression of proteins in the saliva of patients with either malignant or benign tumors to saliva from normal controls to find those that are abnormally expressed in the diseased state. Patients’ proteins that are significantly higher or lower than the norm were considered biomarker candidates.
In the study, researchers analyzed saliva samples from 30 patients. They found 49 proteins that differentiated healthy patients from those with benign breast tumors and those with malignant breast tumors.
These findings suggest that patients can be tested for breast cancer by examining certain protein markers in their saliva during a visit to a dentist’s office.