British researchers are developing a test for oral cancer for use by dentists and orthodontists, according to an article on Science Daily.The researchers at the University of Sheffield and Sheffield TeachingHospitals NHS Foundation Trust, United Kingdom, have been awarded $2million by the US National Institutes of Health to develop the test.

The current procedure used to detect oral cancer in a suspicious lesioninvolves using a scalpel to perform a biopsy, which must be done at anoff-site laboratory. The new test would involve using a brush to collectcells, placing them on a chip, and inserting the chip into an analyzer.Results could be available as quickly as 8 to 10 minutes.

Currently, the research team is carrying out a 2-year clinical trial onpatients to perfect the technology and make it as sensitive as possible.

If oral cancer is detected early, patients have a 5-year survival rateof more than 90%. However, when not diagnosed early, the overallsurvival rate for patients diagnosed with oral cancer is about 50%,among the lowest rates for all major cancers.