Ahmedabad University professor discovers saliva miRNA that predicts oral cancer aggressiveness and prognosis

    The Hawk
    October10/ 2022

    Ahmedabad (The Hawk): Dr. Vivek Tanavde, a professor at Ahmedabad University, led a group that found something important in human saliva. This discovery could change the way that oral cancer patients get invasive biopsies in the future.

    Researchers from the Oral Cancer Cluster in the School of Arts and Sciences at Ahmedabad University and doctors from the Department of Head and Neck Oncology at the HCG Cancer Centre in Ahmedabad found a new miRNA in the saliva of oral cancer patients. This miRNA will help predict how aggressive a tumour is and give a better prognosis for oral cancer.

    According to research published in Switzerland's International Journal of Molecular Sciences, people with oral cancer will no longer need to get invasive biopsies to check how fast the cancerous tumour is growing and how well the treatment is working. Instead, they will just need to spit a couple of times into a tube.

    Together with senior oncologists Dr. Kaustubh Patel and Dr. Dushyant Mandlik from the HCG Cancer Centre, Dr. Tanavde, an Associate Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at Ahmedabad University's School of Biological and Life Sciences, led the team.

    Dr. Tanavde says that treating oral cancer is hard in a number of ways.

    "Patients don't see a doctor until they can see a patch, which may be too late for treatment. If the tumour is surgically removed, there is no way to tell if resistance has developed unless there is a follow-up, which usually only happens when there are visible signs of the tumour growing. At every stage, an invasive biopsy is needed "he said.

    "Our plan is to move toward definitive methods that don't hurt the patient and can be used to track how well treatment is working on a tumour. At the same time, we want this to be easy for many people to get and cheap "Dr Tanavde added.

    He said that the team used kits that could be bought in stores to clean salivary exosomes.

    The professor said, "Then, we can measure the expression of miRNA-1307 with a simple PCR test that is now available in even the smallest towns."

    Oral cancer is the second most common type of cancer in India. Lip/oral cavity cancers make up 10.3% of new cases and 8.8% of deaths, according to a report from the International Agency for Research in Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Saliva is a valuable body fluid for liquid biopsies. Still, it has been hard to use saliva for liquid biopsy in the past because it is hard to get good-quality RNA from saliva.

    As biomarkers, salivary exosomal miRNAs make it easier to take multiple samples, track diseases in real time, and measure how well treatments are working.

    With the help of a liquid biopsy, this study found a single salivary exosomal miRNA prognosticator that will help improve patient outcomes.

    (Inputs from Agencies)