URMC / Research / Research@URMC / July 2013 / Driving Away Dry Mouth from Cancer Treatment

Driving Away Dry Mouth from Cancer Treatment

Most of the 14,400 head and neck cancer patients in the U.S. who will undergo radiation therapy will likely experience an unpleasant side effect called xerostomia, or dry mouth. For most, the persistent dryness becomes a permanent part of their lives, causing difficulty with eating and speaking, oral infections, dental caries, tissue inflammation, and decreased quality of life.salivary gland

A team of scientists led by Catherine Ovitt, Ph.D., from URMC’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health, report initial success in reducing dry mouth in mice by treating the salivary gland before radiation exposure. Their research, supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, was published in the journal Molecular Therapy

Because the salivary gland is extremely sensitive to radiation, during therapy salivary gland cells activate a response that increases the production of specific proteins that direct the death of the cell. As more cells die, the salivary gland’s ability to make saliva permanently diminishes. The team was able to reduce cell death and decreased saliva production in mice by temporarily blocking the expression of these proteins.   

“Our results suggest that this approach could be an effective means of protecting salivary glands during radiation treatment of head and neck cancer,” Ovitt said.  She also pointed out that the approach has significant advantages over alternative methods, as it is limited to the salivary glands, does not involve viruses, and only temporarily blocks protein expression.

Read more about the study here.

Emily Boynton | 7/24/2013 | 4 comments


Ganar Dinero
It is really important to pay attention to this issue and many people don't even know how important the mouth health is.

4/13/2014 5:17:37 PM
Best Dentists in Mexico
Treatments for head or neck area, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can really reduce the flow of saliva and cause dry mouth. Just imagine chewing and swallowing your food while having a dry mouth, no only that, it could also change the way foods taste, which is also difficult for a patient. Congratulation for the team of scientist who was able to takes us to another significant step forward in this new development of oral health for the head and neck cancer patients.
12/17/2013 12:12:43 AM
Remedy Land
It’s true that some people see dry mouth problems as trivial and are therefore not really bothered by it. However, dry mouth can also trigger different problems that are much more serious in the long run. For example, lack of moisture in the mouth makes it easy for the bacteria to multiply and eventually cause tooth decay. It could also lead to infections in the area which would require a much more serious treatment. For that reason, it is advised that individuals address what causes dry mouth problem immediately either by using basic methods or consulting the doctor for the more chronic situations.
12/5/2013 12:40:43 PM
Tot Dental
"Causing difficulty with eating and speaking, oral infections, dental cavities, tissue inflammation, and Decreased quality of life.salivary gland"
This is a problem that will be solved a great benefit to all patients because the problems cause great harm to patients.
Best wishes.
10/30/2013 5:21:22 AM