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Spit tests may soon replace many blood tests
Date:3/25/2008

One day soon patients may spit in a cup, instead of bracing for a needle prick, when being tested for cancer, heart disease or diabetes. A major step in that direction is the cataloguing of the complete salivary proteome, a set of proteins in human ductal saliva, identified by a consortium of three research teams, according to an article published today in the Journal of Proteome Research. Replacing blood draws with saliva tests promises to make disease diagnosis, as well as the tracking of treatment efficacy, less invasive and costly.

Saliva proteomics and diagnostics is part of a nationwide effort to create the first map of every human protein and every protein interaction, as they contribute to health and disease and as they act as markers for disease states. Following instructions encoded by genes, protein machines make up the bodys organs and regulate its cellular processes. Defining exact protein pathways on a comprehensive scale enables the development of early diagnostic testing and precise drug design. In the current study, researchers sought to determine the complete set of proteins secreted by the major salivary glands (parotid, submandibular (SM) and sublingual (SL)). Recent, parallel efforts that mapped the blood (plasma) and tear proteomes allows for useful comparisons of how proteins and potential disease markers are common or unique to different body fluids.

Past studies established that salivary proteins heal the mouth, amplify the voice, develop the taste buds and kill bacteria and viruses, said James E. Melvin, D.D.S., Ph.D., director of the Center for Oral Biology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and an author on the paper. Our work, and the work of our partners, has shown that salivary proteins may represent new tools for tracking disease throughout the bodytools that are potentially easier to monitor in saliva than in blood, said Melvin, who conducts his research at the Eastman Dental Center, in collaboratio
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Contact: Greg Williams
Greg_Williams@urmc.rochester.edu
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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