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TCD at UChicago teams up with Tata Memorial Centre

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The collaboration will augment the efforts to validate a saliva-based diagnostic test that could be used in high-risk patients to detect cancer at an early stage

Tata Centre for Development (TCD) at UChicago recently collaborated with Tata Memorial Centre (TMC), to validate a non-invasive diagnostic test that is capable of identifying oral cancer at an early stage.

UChicago Medicine and Strand Life Sciences, in collaboration with the TCD, have developed a saliva-based test that could be used in patients to detect tumour DNA from mouth cancers. The core objective of this research project is to detect the presence of mutations in a non-invasive method from the tumour in patients with oral cancer.

Currently, observational clinical trial is going on throughout India to develop the test. This collaboration with the TMC will augment the efforts towards collecting tumour tissue and matched saliva from patients with oral cancer.

“With recent advances in sequencing technology, we have been able to demonstrate that tumour DNA can be detected in the saliva of patients. It is an easily accessible, non-invasive liquid biopsy method. Our collaboration with the Tata Memorial Centre will help us in developing the assay and conducting the trial,” said Nishant Agrawal, Professor of Surgery, Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, UChicago Medicine.

“This test uses the potential of saliva—which contains cells, DNA, RNA and proteins—to detect the presence of and measure the rate of prevalence of mutations in the tumour. The research holds promise for both the patients and the doctors because it allows them an opportunity to address pre-cancerous lesions and early detection of invasive cancer and treat it with simple interventions. We are happy to contribute to this important piece of work,” said Dr Rajendra Badwe, Director, Tata Memorial Centre.

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