Easy. Fast. Non-Invavsive. Affordable. Specific. Sensitive. These adjectives are proven, true descriptors of a point-of-care, rinse-and-spit oral cancer screening test that has already completed clinical trials and is under development for dental practices and public-health facilities.
Here's the 30,000-foot view (if you want a deep dive and lots of science, click here): You take a swig of the special rinse, swish it around for few seconds, and expectorate into the appropriate receptable (i.e., spit into a cup). In goes a test strip, which will quickly change color if it senses certain levels of proteins associated with the early-onset of oral cancer ? typically before a lesion is visually detected with a screening aid.
The simplicity, low cost, and immediacy have huge implications, evidenced in press materials coming from the product's licenser, Vigilant Biosciences. The lead refers to the test as capable of early detection of oral cancer "across a racially and ethnically diverse population.? Initially I was taken aback by that claim. But delving further, I understood, with clarification from the test's principal investigator Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D., Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine .
?Since minority patients and those of low socioeconomic status suffer disproportionately from this disease, results of the study show that an easy to administer, noninvasive and inexpensive test can provide patients with limited access to care ready means to early intervention and screening.?
So.....this is big. Rather than waiting for even the earliest symptoms, high-risk individuals have a truly early and simple screening, risk-assessment, and monitoring device.
Apparently, though, we'll be waiting until late 2014 or even 2015 for a launch, according to Vigilant predictions based on FDA approval times. I just want to say HURRY UP!!!!