"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."
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