A New Technology To Detect Oral Cancer By Using A Small Swab
Oral cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, which is characterized with cancerous tissues and tumors appearing in the mouth. Oral cancer includes cancer of the pharynx, sinuses, palate, cheeks, floor of the mouth, lips, and other parts of the mouth. The experts of the American Cancer Society reported that recently, about 35,ooo people in the United States are diagnosed with this type of cancer. It was found out that men over 50 usually have the greatest risks of developing this problem. Generally, oral cancer is more common in men, and risk factors of this type of cancer include genetic predisposition (having a family history of oral cancer), as well as tobacco smoking, alcohol and other substance abuse.
There are a few technologies allowing to diagnose oral cancer. One of those has been recently worked out by a group of experts at the University of Sheffield, the UK. It is a unique approach allowing diagnosing this type of cancer by simple using a small tooth brush or a swab to pick and collect cells from a patient’s mouth. The main advantage of this method is it’s effectiveness and the opportunity of diagnose those patients who potentially may have oral cancer. It is reported that using this innovative technology, it is possible to diagnose this type of cancer for as short as 15-20 minutes. The technology was recently tested by a group of scientists at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital, led by Professor Martin Thornhill.
The core of the approach is quite simple: a dental specialist takes the samples with a small swab, places those to a special chip, and inserts the chip into a special device, an analyzer, which gives the results in 8-10 minutes.The chips are disposable, credit card-like looking pieces of plastic for single usage. When they are inserted into the an analyzer, cell samples undergo the activities of micro fluidic circuits and are being washed from the chip into the reaction chamber. There, they get in contact with special biomarkers that can show the signs of reaction with certain types of cells affected by the disease. The analyzer uses two types of LEDs to distinguish health cells from the diseased ones. Thus, glowing can signal about the presence of diseased cells.
Apart of saving time and money, this method has another advantage which is reducing the number of visit to dental care clinics. Before, it used to take pretty much of time to diagnose oral cancer, and only early detection of this problem could guarantee pretty good results and good survival rate. “This new affordable technology will significantly increase our ability to detect oral cancer in the future. Diagnosis currently involves removing a small piece of tissue from the mouth and sending it to a pathologist,” said Dr. Thornhil. According to the expert, this technology makes oral cancer diagnosing much easier and more effective, allowing the specialists avoid errors and start treatment on the earliest stages.