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A novel imaging technology for the early detection of Oral C

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
Investigator(s): Maie St. John, MD, PhD
Award Cycle: 2015 (Cycle 24) Grant #: 24RT-0029 Award: $421,842
Subject Area: Early Diagnosis/Pathogenesis
Award Type: Research Project Awards

Initial Award Abstract

Oral cancers are life-threatening diseases where patient outcome is very dependent on the early detection of disease. The use of tobacco products (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the leading cause of oral cancers. When these tumors are not detected early, most patients will die of their disease. Therefore, early detection or prevention of this disease is most effective in order to improve survival. The absence of definite early warning signs, or blood tests for oral cancers emphasizes that a screening tool would be critical for screening high risk patients. The goal of this proposal is to develop new a new, handheld, rapid and easy to use screening camera that can detect pre-cancers. In under one minute, a real time video of a patient’s mouth and tongue can be taken, and any areas that are abnormal will be captured by this specialized camera. A biopsy can then be performed of these suspicious areas. This camera relies on differences in the protein content between normal tissues, pre-cancers and cancers. This screening camera would be the first of its kind. If successful this technology can be integrated into the offices of primary care physicians and dentists to facilitate early detection of oral cancers, thus improving treatment and saving lives.