An interesting piece about Dr. David Wong and his work at the UCLA School of Dentistry and his work on using saliva as disease markers.
For almost 10 years, Dr. David Wong and his team at the UCLA School of Dentistry have been collecting saliva and searching it for disease markers.
More than 5,000 samples in all are providing a wealth of information about the science of spit.
Dr. David Wong:
This non invasive fluid that we take for granted is endowed with biological information that can be very forecasting.
Already, Dr. Wong and his team can search a sample and find breast cancer, oral cancer lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
He's now convinced that saliva biomarkers is as credible as any markers out there for detecting any disease.
In one lab, an industrial biomarker reader analyzes saliva and spits out the stats. In another lab, researchers are working on a smaller prototype to give doctors and dentists immediate answers.
Doctor Wong says widespread trials are next. He's hoping for FDA approval in three to five years.
Initially, saliva testing would likely be used as a second line screening tool.
Say you have a suspicious mammogram. Instead of going straight for a biopsy , you'd get the swab. If that can't find cancer, Dr. Wong says you might be able to skip further testing.
I'll take a saliva swab any day over an invasive test like a colonoscopy or biopsy. But, we are a few years away from that.