New Study May Bring Dentists to Become Prime Providers of Lung Cancer Screening. Dentists are Front and Center in Prevention.

A new process (see release below) has been announced that may enable the early diagnosis of lung cancer thru a cheek swab. Dental patients are used to going in to the dentist for cleanings and exams. If this new test is nexpensive and has few false positives it will probably be a test that could be done on a regular basis in just a few extra seconds during dental appointments.

Dentists are already front and center in the detection of head and neck cancer because they routinely do neck exams during patients twice annual visits. Thyroid problems are frequently first recognized by dentists because the patients are in the dental chair are in a perfect position for palpating the thyroid gland.

Sleep apnea and snoring have are also frequently first discussed with patients at the dentist. A scalloped tongue is one of the most accurate predictors of sleep apnea. CPAP is still considerd the Gold Standard of treatment for sleep apnea but oral appliances have been shown to be very effective and are preferred by almost all patients offered a choice. Visit http://www.ihatecpap.com to learn more about Sleep Apnea and Snoring and treatment by Dental Sleep Medicine

The research on periodontal disease and atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and many other health issues has already put dentistry front and center as the field of medicine capable of preventing widespread disease with minimal use of drug therapy. This has been dubbed the Oral-Systemic connection. Many systemic disease are first evidenced by changes in oral health.

A new website http://www.ihateheadaches.org details how the majority of chronic tension-type and migraine headaches have a Trigeminal connection and can frequently be allieviated through Neuromuscular Dentistry. Temporomandibular Disorders or Costen’s Syndrome have long been associated with patients who have chronic pain. Technological developments let dentists evaluate the trigeminal nervous systems function to alleviate and eliminate many headaches, sinus pains, ear pains and other symptoms like dizziness and swallowing problems. Read “SUFFER NO MORE: DEALING WITH THE GREAT IMPOSTER’ http://www.sleepandhealth.com/story/suffer-no-more-dealing-great-impostor

ADD and ADHD are also being elimminated or improved by dentists thru treatment of pediatric sleep apnea by early orthodontic expansion of the airway. Up to 80% of ADD and ADHD patients have been shown to have sleep apnea. Dentists have long advocated the importance of airway to growth and development.

Stem cells from extracted teeth and baby teeth are currently being banked which may prove valuable but the exciting prospect for Stem Cells is actually the developing tooth bud of the wisdom tooth. Prior to calcification the tooth bud contains stem cells derived from the neural crest. These pluripotent stem cells are much more potent than dental pulp tissue that only contains mesenchymal stem cells. The early minimally invasive removal of developing tooth buds will not only greatly expand the field of stem cell therapy but may be the single best source of stem cells for personalized medicine. The collection can be done in a couple of minutes with virtually no side effects compared to current treatments for third molars that carry risk of pain and injury.

(information on Ckeek Swab below)
Contact: Josh Chamot
jchamot@nsf.gov
703-292-7730
National Science Foundation
Cheek swab may detect lung cancer
In clinical trial, technique appears to detect lung cancer far afield from a tumor

Nano-scale disturbances in cheek cells indicate the presence of lung cancer. Regular microscopy looking at chromatin, the genetic material inside a cell’s nucleus, will not reveal significant dissimilarities between the…
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Early detection is critical for improving cancer survival rates. Yet, one of the deadliest cancers in the United States, lung cancer, is notoriously difficult to detect in its early stages.

Now, researchers have developed a method to detect lung cancer by merely shining diffuse light on cells swabbed from patients’ cheeks.

In a new clinical study, the analysis technique–called partial wave spectroscopic (PWS) microscopy–was able to differentiate individuals with lung cancer from those without, even if the non-cancerous patients had been lifetime smokers or suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The findings-released by a team of engineers and physicians from NorthShore University Health System, Northwestern University and New York University-appear in print in the Oct. 15, 2010, issue of the journal Cancer Research.

“This study is important because it provides the proof of concept that a minimally intrusive, risk-stratification technique may allow us to tailor screening for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer deaths in Americans,” said physician and researcher Hemant Roy of NorthShore University HealthSystems and the University of Chicago, the lead author on the paper. “This represents a major step forward in translating biomedical optics breakthroughs for personalized screening for lung cancer.”

The recent results are an extension of several successful trials involving the light-scattering analysis technique, including early detection successes with pancreatic cancer and colon cancer. NSF has supported the team’s work since 2002, with an early grant to Roy’s collaborator and co-author, bioengineer Vadim Backman of Northwestern University.

“Their work has now transitioned to a larger $2 million Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation award,” said Leon Esterowitz, a biophotonics expert and program director at NSF who has long supported the research. “The results have even larger implications in that the techniques and the ‘field effect’ may be a general phenomena that could be applied to a multitude of epithelial cancers, the most common cancer type.”

The continuing clinical and laboratory experiments involving the PWS light-scattering technique-and its predecessor technologies, four-dimensional elastic light scattering fingerprinting (4D-ELF) and low-coherence enhanced backscattering spectroscopy (LEBS)-are revealing new information about the changes cells undergo when cancer emerges somewhere in the body.

Within affected cells, including otherwise healthy cells far from an actual tumor, the molecules in the nucleus and cellular skeleton appear to change. On the scale of roughly 200 nanometers or less, even to the scale of molecules, an affected cell’s structure becomes so distorted that light scatters through the cell in a telling way.

The ability of cancer to cause changes in distant, healthy tissue is called the “field effect” or “field of injury” effect, and is the physical mechanism that allows cells in the cheek to reveal changes triggered by a tumor far off in a patient’s lung.

“Microscopic histology and cytology have been a staple of clinical diagnostics detecting micro-scale alterations in cell structure,” added Backman. “However, the resolution of conventional microscopy is limited. PWS-based nanocytology, on the other hand, detects cellular alterations at the nanoscale in otherwise microscopically normal-appearing cells.”

“What is intriguing is that the very same nanoscale alterations seem to develop early in very different types of cancer including lung, colon and pancreatic cancers,” Backman continued. “Not only does this suggest that nanocytology has the potential to become a general platform for cancer screening, but also that these nanoscale alterations are a ubiquitous event in early carcinogenesis with critical consequences for cell function. Elucidating the mechanisms of these alterations will help us understand the initial stages of carcinogenesis and improve screening.”

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This research was supported by the National Science Foundation through ten individual grants over the last decade, including CBET-0939778 and CBET-0937987.

Read more about the work in the Northwestern University press release.

Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF (703) 292-7730 jchamot@nsf.gov
Megan Fellman, Northwestern University (847) 491-3115 fellman@northwestern.edu
Jim Anthony, NorthShore University HealthSystem (847) 570-6132 janthony@northshore.org

Program Contacts
Sohi Rastegar, NSF (703) 292-8305 srastega@nsf.gov
Leon Esterowitz, NSF (703) 292-7942 lesterow@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Vadim Backman, Northwestern University (847) 467-4010 v-backman@northwestern.edu

Co-Investigators
Hemant Roy, NorthShore University HealthSystems and the University of Chicago h-roy@northwestern.edu