ata Centre for Development (TCD) at University of Chicago Medical Center (UChicago) has joined hands with the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), Mumbai towards validating a non-invasive diagnostic test to detect oral cancer at an early stage.
UChicago Medicine and Strand Life Sciences, in collaboration with the TCD, has developed a saliva-based test that could be used in patients to detect tumour DNA from mouth cancers.
The core objective of this research project is to detect presence of mutations in a non-invasive method from the tumour in patients with oral cancer.
Currently, observational clinical trial is going on throughout India to develop the test.
Recent advances in sequencing technology have demonstrated that tumour DNA can be detected in the saliva of patients, through simple non-invasive liquid biopsy method.
“This test uses the potential of saliva—which contains cells, DNA, RNA and proteins—to detect the presence of and measure the rate of prevalence of mutations in the tumour,” said Dr Rajendra Badwe, director, Tata Memorial Centre, in a statement.
The research holds promise for both the patients and the doctors because it gives them an opportunity to address pre-cancerous lesions and early detection of invasive cancer and treat it with simple interventions, he added.
Oral cancer ranks among the top three types of cancer in India. It is also the leading cancer among men and the fifth most frequently occurring cancer in women. India, reportedly, contributes nearly 60 percent to the oral cancer burden worldwide, and the number of cases is expected to double by 2030. Only, 60-80 percent of oral cancers are diagnosed at advanced stages when survival is well below 50 percent.