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May 15th, 2007
S.A. scientists hope to screen spit for diseases
Someday soon, screening for disease could be as easy as spitting into a cup. That's the hope of some San Antonio scientists working on a cutting-edge project.
Many medical tests are conducted by drawing blood, collecting it in a test tube, and sending it to a lab. But what if there was a better way?
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School are working on a way to use saliva to screen for disease.
"The cornerstone of this is called 'lab on a chip.' The idea is that, on a very small silicone chip, you could do multiple tests at the same time," said Dr. Spencer Redding, an oral medicine scientist at UTHSC.
Using nanotechnology, engineers at UT-Austin have come up with a prototype. Tiny amounts of saliva flow into little wells with beads coated in a substance that could detect disease.
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