Saliva has become an emerging medium for the detection of life-threatening diseases such as diabetes and cancer. The University of California, Los Angeles School of Dentistry recently received funding from the National Institutes of Health to further explore the field of #salivary diagnostics in order to develop a tool to detect stomach cancer.


A grant was awarded for a five-year project led to Dr. David Wong, associate dean of research and professor of oral biology, and oral biology and medicine at UCLA School of Dentistry. Wong and his team will conduct a prospective study to develop a salivary biomarker panel that would validate for stomach cancer detection. They hope to capture RNA  secreted by stomach cancer cells in saliva samples to confirm whether a patient is at risk of developing this type of cancer.

With this new method, the researchers hope that such risk evaluations could be performed at the #dentist’s office in the future.

Wong first discovered markers in 2004 and demonstrated their translational utility for detecting oral cancer. Since then, his team has developed salivary biomarkers for a number of oral and systemic diseases, including salivary gland tumors and Sjögren’s syndrome.

The funding came from the NIH Common Fund, a program that was implemented to support biochemical research. It has already awarded a total of $160 million to research projects in salivary diagnostics around the world. This just continues to exhibit how important oral health is and the ability to diagnosis a variety of conditions continue to increase very year.

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