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A Life- and Cost-Saving Early Diagnostic Test

 

Narrator: This is Science Today. The UCLA School of Dentistry is close to developing a standardized saliva-based test for oral cancer, which affects over 30 thousand Americans every year. Dr. David Wong, director of UCLA's Dental Research Institute says having such a test available in the near future will not only save lives, it will lead to a significant cost savings in treatment.

Wong: Oral cancer is the most expensive cancer to treat. It costs 200 thousand dollars to treat a case of stage four oral cancer and these individuals have less than 20 percent survivability in five years.

Narrator: The saliva-based test can be used as a non-invasive, early diagnostic tool.

Wong: For a stage 1 tumor, it could be a simple, excisional biopsy that could be less than a thousand dollars. So, significant reduction in health care costs. So, there is all this inherent value that is embedded within a test that is obviously clinically useful. That's what we're building the science to.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.