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Something Iíve waited for a long time has finally happened! Researchers have mapped all the proteins found in spit!
Only you could get excited about saliva.
No… this is really important. Investigators have identified more than 1000 different proteins from human saliva.
To do this study, they collected saliva from more than 20 healthy people. Then they separated all the proteins based on their size and overall charge. This creates a fingerprint of the proteins normally present in saliva.
All the proteins from a single source is referred to as its proteome, and in this case, the spit proteome. So what this study did was identify the spit proteome of healthy people. This way you can compare a patientís saliva proteome with the healthy proteome and anything new or altered could be an indicator of disease.
It turns out that 1 out of five proteins in the saliva is also in our bloodstream. It just goes to show, these disease signaling proteins which we now use blood tests to diagnose may be identifiable in saliva.
This is significant because giving a small amount of salvia for a lab test is certainly more convenient than giving a blood or urine sample. So far some of the early results with saliva screening have identified proteins associated with rectal and colon cancer, pancreatic and breast cancer as well as diabetes and Parkinsonís and Huntington disease.
Some of these diseases like pancreatic cancer are difficult to diagnose so if saliva screening is effective in early diagnosis it may just save or extend lives.
The method may even help detect the presence of HER2 protein fragments in saliva which is an indicator for breast cancer.
If so, saliva screening could be an alternative to mammograms!
Spit mapping may have sounded goofy at first but itís looking rather promising!
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