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Adv Dent Res. 2011 Oct;23(4):353-9. doi: 10.1177/0022034511420432.

Saliva, diagnostics, and dentistry.

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Halteres Associates LLC, 5858 Horton Street, Suite 280, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA.


Saliva, a scientific and clinical entity familiar to every oral health researcher and dental practitioner, has emerged as a translational and clinical commodity that has reached national visibility at the National Institutes of Health and the President's Office of Science and Technology. "Detecting dozens of diseases in a sample of saliva" was issued by President Obama as one of the 14 Grand Challenges for biomedical research in the 21(st) Century (National Economic Council, 2010). In addition, NIH's 2011 Government Performance Report Act (GPRA) listed 10 initiatives in the high-risk long-term category (Collins, 2011). The mandate is to determine the efficacy of using salivary diagnostics to monitor health and diagnose at least one systemic disease by 2013. The stage is set for the scientific community to capture these national and global opportunities to advance and substantiate the scientific foundation of salivary diagnostics to meet these goals. A specific calling is to the oral, dental, and craniofacial health community. Three areas will be highlighted in this paper: the concept of high-impact diagnostics, the role of dentists in diagnostics, and, finally, an infrastructure currently being developed in the United Kingdom--The UK Biobank--which will have an impact on the translational and clinical utilizations of saliva.

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