Saliva Tests Making Their Way to Routine Care

"This is truly an exciting and revolutionary goal," he said, adding that current efforts aim "to establish the scientific credibility and clinical utilities of saliva."

Dr. Robert Genco is a distinguished professor of oral biology and microbiology in the Schools of Dentistry and Medicine at the State University of New York in Buffalo. He agreed that saliva-based diagnostics show real promise.

"The field is very exciting, and the quest for such diagnostics is important," he said. "Because if you can take a simple sample like saliva and then do a test to diagnose disease -- particularly for diseases that don't show themselves very well -- you can perhaps have some information before the situation gets too serious."

"The key issue is what is the predictive value or reliability of such a test in an individual. And that's a very high barrier to overcome," he cautioned. "But I think the cutting-edge approach these researchers are using is sensible and holds a great deal of promise."

More information

For more on saliva diagnostics, visit the American Association for Dental Research.

SOURCES: David T. Wong, M.D., director, Dental Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles; Robert Genco, DDS, Oh.D., distinguished professor of oral biology, School of Dentistry, and professor of microbiology, School of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, N.Y., March 21-24, 2007, General Session of the International Association for Dental Research, New Orleans

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