The UCLA School of Dentistry recently received $5 million to develop a tool to detect stomach cancer by studying saliva, according to a UCLA statement released on Tuesday.
The National Institutes of Health will fund the project as part of a $160 million initiative to address the potential of salivary diagnostics, according to the press release.
Dr. David Wong, associate dean of research at the School of Dentistry, will be leading the study and said in the statement that he was excited about this research approaching clinical maturation. Wong has been successfully working to develop salivary biomarkers to detect various cancers and other diseases for nearly a decade, according to the press release.
Researchers will study a type of ribonucleic acid, or RNA, a substance that converts genetic code into proteins, during the five-year long project. The researchers hope to isolate in the saliva the molecule secreted by stomach cancer cells to confirm whether the patient is at risk for the disease, according to the statement.
Support from the NIH for studies in this field strongly suggests that saliva can help detect systemic diseases, Wong said in the press release.
Compiled by Chandini Soni, Bruin senior staff