A new technique has been developed that can separate and
analyze all proteins found in human saliva other than just soluble ones.
This technique, called 'three-step peptide fractionation',
can further provide an approach that may disclose protein markers for oral
cancer and other disorders in the oral cavity.
It is known that saliva has a large number of proteins that
could be used to screen for diseases, particularly oral diseases, but still the
studies so far were centred on the small subset of free-floating saliva
In fact, oral cells contain far more proteins and analysis
of these understudied proteins will be made possible by this 'three-step
peptide fractionation' developed by Timothy Griffin, Nelson Rhodus and
colleagues at American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
They examined saliva samples from four oral cancer patients
and identified over 1000 human proteins, including many known cancer associated
Besides, they also separated out proteins from more than 30
different bacteria, many of which have not been previously found in saliva, and
several of which may also have possible cancer links.
It was noted that the mortality rate for oral cancer
has not much declined over the past 30 years and this technique, providing the
first description of using whole cells to identify the vast array of human and
bacterial proteins in saliva, may help identify new markers for oral cancer