MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Nearly 50,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States this year, and those numbers are expected to rise. Now, a simple, non-invasive test may soon be available to detect this deadly cancer early, with the hope of saving more lives.
“I enjoy working out, traveling and working,” Jeffrey Stanger told Ivanhoe.
Jeffrey Stanger was enjoying the good life when a trip to the dentist led to a frightening diagnosis.
Stanger continued, “In 2016, my dentist noticed some lesions on my tongue.”
A biopsy revealed Jeffrey had oral cancer.
“When we refer to oral cancer, I’m talking about tumors involved in the mouth or the throat.” Elizabeth Franzmann, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Miami explained. (Read Full Interview)
Doctor Franzmann says cases of oral cancers are on the rise in this country due to the human papilloma virus or HPV. Doctor Franzmann says the problem is this type of cancer can be difficult to detect early on.
“So we are in better need of screening tools for this disease that are simple and inexpensive,” continued Dr. Franzmann.
Doctor Franzmann and her team discovered that a molecule called CD44 plays an important role.
“We published a paper that showed that sure enough the levels in cancer patients were elevated compared to controls,” said Dr. Franzmann.
From there they developed a simple oral rinse test called OncAlert that can be used right in the dentist’s office.
Doctor Franzmann, showing the product, explained, “This protein pad here will turn a certain color of green.”
That shows a person is at high risk. Jeffrey says this simple test can be a life saver.
“So you can detect it in very earlier stages,” he stated.
Jeffrey had surgery to remove the cancer, and is back smiling and enjoying life.
In spring of 2017 Vigilant Biosciences opened their FDA trial for the U.S. version of the OncAlert rapid test. A similar test that’s sent to the lab is already available here in the U.S. Both tests are made by Vigilant Biosciences, which recently received a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health for Oral Cancer Research. For more information please visit vigilantbiosciences.com or oncalertlabs.com.
Contributors to this news report include: Janna Ross, Field Producer; Judy Reich, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: ORAL CANCER DETECTOR
REPORT: MB #4314
BACKGROUND: Oral cancer is any cancer that develops in the tissues of the mouth or throat. It is a subset in the larger group of cancers called head and neck cancers. Most commonly found in the month, tongue and lips, oral cancer is most often discovered only after it has spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Early detection is key to survival, and a dentist is often the first healthcare provider to notice signs of oral cancer. The largest risk factor for oral cancer is use of tobacco, including cigarette smoking, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. People who consume large amounts of alcohol and tobacco are at an even larger risk, especially when used on a regular basis. Other risk factors include HPV infection, sun exposure, family history, and being male.
DIAGNOSING: Symptoms of oral cancer may include white or red patches in the mouth or lips, dramatic weight loss, lower lip, face, neck, or chin numbness, an earache that won’t go away, lumps in the neck, trouble swallowing or wearing dentures, loose teeth, bleeding from the mouth, a sore on the lip or mouth that won’t heal, and even a mass or growth anywhere in the mouth. A doctor or dentist will perform a physical exam and if they have any suspicions, they will perform a brush or tissue biopsy. Brush is a painless procedure that collects cells by brushing them onto a slide, while tissue biopsy involves removing a piece of tissue so it can be examined under a microscope. In addition, your health care provider may need to conduct X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans, or an endoscopy.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: Vigilant Biosciences created a product called ONC-Alert that can be used right in a dentists’ office using patented technology that detects specific protein markers which are known to indicate an elevated risk of certain early stage cancers, even prior to observation of visual or physical symptoms or changes. By measuring the levels of tumor-initiating stem cell associated biomarker CD44, in combination with total protein, the test can provide an early and more accurate detection of these oral cancers. The simple oral rinse procedure is easy to administer and non-invasive for the patient.
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