Anyone touched by cancer often laments on the lack of early detection tests. “If only we knew sooner – in this day and age, how can we not have a better way to pick up this disease?”
The answer may be here quicker than you think. In addition, it could be a simple saliva test that holds the key.
Research by scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry could lead to a simple saliva test capable of diagnosing the early stages of oral cancer and diabetes, and perhaps neurological disorders and autoimmune diseases. Their findings are outlined in Clinical Chemistry October 2014. (will link to this page http://www.clinchem.org
Using state-of-the-science genomics and bioinformatics, the researchers analysed 165 million genetic sequences and found that saliva contains many of the same disease-revealing molecules that are contained in blood.
“Saliva carries with it noncoding RNAs, microRNAs, piRNAs, and circRNAs that are biomarkers for disease and health monitoring,” Dr. Wong said. “Had we not done this collaboration, we would never know that noncoding RNAs, microRNAs, piRNAs, and circRNAs exist in saliva.”
The authors speculated that dentists might be able to take saliva samples to analyse for a variety of diseases soon. The research could lead to a new category of self-diagnostic devices, according to Dr. Wong.
“This could indicate that wearable gear that informs you whether you have a disease — even before you have any symptoms — is almost here,” he said.
It’s very interesting research and even more exciting to watch as this develops over the coming years.