How Saliva May Help Oral Cancer Research

Published:October 31st, 2011

Human saliva is composed of 98% water and the remaining 2% mucus, electrolytes, and various enzymes. Also within the 2%, an abundant amount of protein can be found in our saliva. And these proteins can be used to check for illnesses such as oral diseases and diabetes. However, research done thus far has only concentrated on studying the small subset of free-floating saliva proteins. Until now that is.

Researchers Timothy Griffin, Nelson Rhodus and their colleagues from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology state that there are a lot more proteins found inside oral cells. This same group has also created a unique method that will separate and examine all the proteins contained in human saliva. This means that not only the soluble proteins but the understudied proteins will be analysed as well. Their method is called the three-step peptide fractionation and using this may identify protein markers for oral cancer and other diseases of the oral cavity.

During their research, Griffin and his team examined the saliva samples of 4 patients with oral cancer. From these samples, they were able to identify more than 1000 human proteins. These included a lot of proteins that are known to be associated to cancer. They were also able to separate proteins out of more than 30 different bacteria. Many of those bacteria have not been found before in human saliva. And it’s possible that several of them may have a link to cancer.

Over the last 30 years, the number of deaths due to oral cancer has hardly decreased. The researchers state that with this new method they developed, they will be able to provide a description (the first ever) using entire cells to identify the large amount of proteins (human and bacteria) in saliva. This, in turn, may help in finding new markers for the progression of oral cancer research.

Recently, their research was published in the Molecular and Cellular Proteomics journal.

Write a Comment of How Saliva May Help Oral Cancer Research

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape