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Getting Closer to a Saliva Test that Detects Oral Cancer


Narrator:        This is Science Today. Researchers are a step closer to developing a test to detect oral cancer by examining saliva. Dr. David Wong, of UCLA's School of Dentistry and the Jonsson Cancer Center, says there are differences in proteins detected in saliva from people with oral cancer and those without the disease.

Wong:             When someone's physiology is changed or altered or going through a disease process, the body reacts to it. These reactionary byproducts come into our circulation, which is the blood. And saliva is part of our circulation.

Narrator:        Saliva has lower levels of chemicals to analyze than in the blood, but Wong says new methodology has fixed that.

Wong:             Engineering colleagues here at UCLA and elsewhere came out with these really creative nanotechnology-based biosensors that can practically detect anything at any level - be it a roomful of air for anthrax molecules, or a molecule that is indicative of a disease in saliva.

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