The highly–receptive instrument, which looks similar to a toothbrush, is able to achieve extremely accurate results by lightly touching a lesion on the tongue or cheek.
Trials carried out on the nano–bio–chip sensor showed it was 97 percent “sensitive” and 93 percent specific in detecting which patients had malignant or premalignant lesions – results that compared well with traditional tests.
Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, was pleased to see this technology add to the increasing number of methods aiding early detection.
Dr Carter said: “Mouth Cancer is a deadly and debilitating disease that would greatly benefit from such early diagnostic technology as the nano–bio–chip.
“Currently the best chance of beating the cancer comes from early detection, which improves survival rates to 90 per cent.
“Mouth cancer is a potentially fatal condition that is taking more lives each year. Without early diagnosis chances of survival plummet down to 50 percent.”
If introduced, the brush could be used by dentists while you were sitting in the chair during your regular dental appointment.
The minimally invasive technique would deliver results in 15 minutes instead of several days, as lab–based diagnostics do now, and offer an alternative to often invasive, painful biopsies.
A larger trial involving 500 patients has been planned while researchers hope the eventual deployment of nano–bio–chips will dramatically cut the cost of medical diagnostics and contribute significantly to the task of bringing quality health care to the world.
In the UK around 5,000 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year, claiming the lives of almost 2,000, making it the UK’s fastest growing cancer.
Mouth cancer has previously been found to be more common in men than women and people over the age of 40, though an increasing number of women and young people are developing the condition.
Tobacco and alcohol are thought to contribute to at least three–quarters of mouth cancer cases.
Poor diet is linked to a third of all cancer cases. Evidence shows an increase in fruit and vegetables lowers the risk, as can fish and eggs.
Research now suggests the human papilloma virus (HPV) transmitted by oral sex could soon rival smoking and drinking as a main cause of mouth cancer.
That is why the charity is strongly advising people of all ages to start checking their mouths more frequently and continue to attend their check–ups on a regular basis.
Dr Carter added: “It is tremendously important to follow our Mouth Cancer Action Month campaign slogan: ‘If in doubt, get checked out.’”
Initial signs of mouth cancer can include a non–healing mouth ulcer, a red or white patch in the mouth or unusual lumps or swelling in the mouth.
For information and expert advice on mouth cancer and other oral health issues call the National Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188, alternatively visit the website at www.mouthcancer.org
The new nano–bio–chip was developed professor John McDevitt and his team at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
The study appeared online in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.
The abstract featuring in the Cancer Prevention Research journal can be found at http://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2010/03/20/1940–6207.CAPR–09–0139.abstract.
For further information please contact the Foundation’s Press Office on 01788 539 792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information and expert advice on mouth cancer and other oral health issues call the Dental Helpline on 0845 063 1188, alternatively visit the website at www.mouthcancer.org
In the UK around 5,000 are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year.
Mouth cancer is more common in men than women, but the gap is closing.
Mouth cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition.
Smoking is the number one cause for mouth cancer. Cigarette smoke converts saliva into a deadly cell–damaging cocktail.
Switching to low–tar cigarettes will not help, as smokers of ‘lights’ tend to inhale more smoke than smokers of ‘regular’ cigarettes.
Alcohol aids absorption of smoke into the mouth – people who smoke and drink alcohol to excess are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
It is recommended that people enjoy a healthy, balanced diet, including food from each of the major food groups and including fruit and vegetables of all different colours as each colour contains different vitamins.