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CWRU Dental School and UH Case Medical Center test possible oral cancer detection tool
Date:6/16/2014

esions in the oral cavity," says Zender. "This protein has the potential to help us predict which lesions are non-cancerous versus those that are malignant. If we can identify which lesions are more aggressive, this could have a big impact on cure rates for this type of cancer."

The researchers hope to find a way to diagnose oral cancers in the earliest, more treatable stages, and to eventually halt cancer growth once diagnosed.

For years, researchers thought hBDs were "the good guys" in the mouth, said Weinberg, "but we are finding it isn't always so." The recent discovery by Case Western Reserve dental researcher and additional co-investigator Dr. Ge Jin has shown this not to be the case.

In tissue studies, Jin reported the disappearance of hBD-2, another innate peptide in the mouth's lining that protects against microbial challenges, and the proliferation of hBD-3 in cancerous tissues.

The finding led the dental researchers to hypothesize that an abundance of hBD-3 in saliva and tissue might be a way to diagnose oral cancers.

"Our team recently found that the HPV type most implicated in head and neck cancer promotes hBD-3 overexpression," Weinberg said.

Zender, a head and neck surgeon who treats benign and cancerous lesions of the mouth and throat, heard about Weinberg's interest in studying the hBD-3 connection to cancer. The collaboration was forged during a meeting between Weinberg and Cliff Megerian, the chair of the Department of Otolaryngology.

Their study includes several components:

  • Saliva samples will be collected and hBD-2 and hBD-3 levels will be measured to determine the ratio of the two peptides.

  • An oral rinse will capture the presence of HPV to conduct genetic testing to find out which genotypes are present in the patient's saliva. There are over 100 types of HPV that have been identified. Currently HPV 16 is the genotype most commonly associate
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Contact: Susan Griffith
susan.griffith@case.edu
216-368-1004
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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