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UT Health Science Center researchers decoding saliva to detect breast cancer
Date:1/10/2008

HOUSTON (Jan.10, 2008)Researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston can identify and quantify specific protein markers in human saliva to provide an early, non-invasive diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published in the Jan. 10, 2008 issue of the journal "Cancer Investigation."

The study describes how the onset of breast cancer produces a change in the normal type and amount of proteins in glandular secretions from the salivary glands. The protein profile in a healthy person is altered by the presence of cancer.

Lead researcher Charles Streckfus, D.D.S., a University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston professor of diagnostic sciences with an expertise in salivary function and molecular epidemiology, collaborated on the groundbreaking study with William Dubinsky, Ph.D., a biochemist and professor of integrative biology and pharmacology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston; and Lenora Bigler, Ph.D., clinical research professor with the UT Dental Branch.

Why not the dentist? said Streckfus. Most folks, especially women and children, visit the dental office way more often than they ever see the physician. Saliva is a non-invasive, quicker way for detection.

The study is being applied to a lab-on-a-chip technology platform developed by biochemists at The University of Texas at Austin. The ultimate goal is to bring this type of diagnostic test, which is capable of detecting the presence of cancer before a tumor forms, into the dental office or other health care facilities. The technology aims to improve the ease and effectiveness with which dental professionals and other health care providers can provide quick, accurate diagnostic information and physician referrals to their patients.

The unique collaborative opportunities at the UT Health Science Center at Houston, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center fostered th
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Contact: Natalie Wong Camarata
Natalie.W.Camarata@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert  

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