Dentists may soon use ‘salivaomics’ to diagnose life-threatening illnesses

In a special supplement to the Journal of the American Dental Association, Dr. David Wong, the associate dean of research at the UCLA School of Dentistry, details the latest progress in the field of 'salivaomics' — the study of the genes, proteins, DNA and RNA contained in saliva — and how dentists may be able to use salivaomics to not only diagnose diseases in their early stages, but also monitor the progress of treatment and predict the possibility of recurrence.

Working with researchers from other institutions, Wong has developed statistical analysis tools, and methods of storage and analysis of biological information — called bioinformatics — which can help determine a person's health by identifying specific biomarkers that are in saliva. In this way, they can use saliva just like doctors use blood, spinal fluid and other bodily fluids, to detect cancer, diabetes and auto-immune diseases.

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According to the UCLA Newsroom article dated October 19th: "The ability to conveniently and inexpensively capture saliva samples in a clinical setting for diagnostic purposes would be a huge step forward for health care providers in the detection, treatment and prediction of recurrence of life-threatening diseases."

Dr. Wong's full article can be read at this link.