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'Powerful': World's first PCR test for mouth cancer developed – get result in 90 minutes

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Early detection is key to surviving cancer and researchers have developed an innovative tool to aid this effort. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have developed the world’s first PCR test for mouth cancer. The test’s accuracy has been demonstrated on patients from China, India and the UK and the results are published in the international journal, Cancers.

Named the Quantitative Malignant Index Diagnosis System (qMIDS) by inventor Doctor Muy-Teck Teh, it has the potential to relieve pressure on the NHS and may improve the early detection of oral cancer.

How it works

The test is quick and easy. It only needs the PCR machine used in Covid testing and a technician to operate it.

A tiny sample (the size of half-a-grain of rice) is taken from the suspicious area in the patient’s mouth and the test only takes 90 minutes after reaching the technician – similar to a Covid PCR test.

Until now there hasn’t been a perfect way to identify the lesions likely to develop into cancer. There is a grading system which highly skilled consultant oral pathologists use to assess the tissue samples through a microscope.

READ MORE: Bowel cancer symptoms: The ‘first two’ signs of the disease – ‘notice it and follow it up’

Without knowing definitively whether a lesion is cancerous, patients with pre-malignancy must be reviewed regularly over a long period of time, even if they’re at low risk, creating anxiety and disruption for the patient, as well as cost for the NHS.

On the other hand, if a “mild” case develops into cancer, the patient may have already been discharged from hospital, so they often delay seeking treatment because they don’t think they have cancer.

As a result of this delay, treatment is more aggressive, costly and less likely to succeed.

This is where qMIDS steps in. The test’s diagnostic accuracy would mean that 90 percent of low-risk patients could be discharged from hospital to go back to their dentist or GP for review.

Or they might be tested in the dentist’s surgery and only referred to secondary care if they were high risk.

High-risk cases could also be detected in the pre-cancer period and treated definitively, thereby saving the patient’s life with minor surgery, better cure rates and quality of life, as well as a huge reduction in health service costs.

The test process is largely automated, removing the need for expensive pathologists. There’s also no need for invasive biopsies. The tests can be carried out on multiple sites when patients have lesions affecting large areas throughout the mouth.

It could therefore be rapidly rolled out around the world at very little extra cost.

Co-study lead, Professor Iain Hutchison, stated: “qMIDS dramatically improves our management of mouth cancer and its pre-cancerous state, saving lives and healthcare costs. Surgeons and dentists anywhere in the world can use this test for minimally invasive tissue samples because all it needs is a PCR machine and the technician who operates it.

“qMIDS will help us identify patients with pre-malignancies that will never transform to cancer, so they can be reassured and discharged from hospital review. Patients with high-risk premalignancy can have minor surgery to remove the lesion before it has transformed to cancer, thereby curing the patient and saving them major surgery, which in turn reduces health service costs. It is a powerful tool especially when used in conjunction with conventional histopathology assessment.”

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer can develop in most parts of the mouth, including the lips, gums and occasionally the throat.

The most common symptoms of mouth cancer are:

  • Sore mouth ulcers that do not heal within several weeks
  • Unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that do not go away
  • Unexplained, persistent lumps in the lymph glands in the neck that do not go away.



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Ruud van Nistelrooy makes next job decision as Man Utd plan coaching appointment

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That decision failed to pay off, however, with the Red Devils sacking Moyes after just 10 months in charge.

After the current West Ham boss came Van Gaal, who arrived with big things expected due to his past success at the likes of Barcelona and Ajax.

Giggs was hoping to get the Red Devils job himself, which was why he stayed, but both ended up leaving nearly six years ago.

When Jose Mourinho took over, he opted to maintain his close relationship with Rui Faria – who had previously worked under him at clubs such as Real Madrid and Chelsea.

Fair departed in the summer of 2018, though, with Michael Carrick then given a place on Mourinho’s bench.

Carrick stayed to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian also regularly picking up the thoughts of Phelan and Kieran McKenna throughout his spell in the dugout.

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High cholesterol: Blood pressure drug linked to significant reduction in good cholesterol

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“Though they’re commonly used to treat different forms of heart disease, beta-blockers can significantly reduce HDL levels.”

Among the beta-blockers that cause this are Corgard (nadolol), Inderal (propranolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Zebeta (bisoprolol).

These drugs are widely used in the treatment of angina, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, heart attack and high blood pressure.

But despite concerns about their effect on cholesterol, scientists stress that the benefits of beta-blockers far outweigh the risks.

VeryWell Health adds: “If your beta-blocker affects your cholesterol significantly, your doctor may lower your dose or switch you to a different medication.”



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Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez not on same page over Saudi Arabia GP after missile attack

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However, after a four-hour meeting between race officials and the teams, it was confirmed the race would go ahead despite the attack. It had been reported that a number of the competing drivers were concerned for their safety following the nearby explosion.

Despite this, an agreement was finally reached to race at 2:30am local time, after team chiefs left the lengthy meeting to confirm: “We will be racing.” A statement from Formula 1 confirmed Sunday’s race would go ahead as planned. It read: “Formula 1 has been in close contact with the relevant authorities following the situation that took place today. The authorities have confirmed that the event can continue as planned and we will remain in close contact with them and all the teams and closely monitor the situation.”

Unsurprisingly, there were a number of mixed views on whether the race should go ahead, and this is clearly apparent in the Red Bull setup. This comes after advisor Helmut Marko revealed that drivers Verstappen and Perez are not on the same page when it comes to racing.

JUST IN: F1 drivers ‘had concerns’ about Saudi Arabia GP as new details emerge after missile attack

On the issue, Marko told Sky Germany: “Max is a bit more relaxed about it. Perez is a little bit scared, but when you live in Mexico City there’s not much more security. We have the pandemic, we have the war in Europe and now we have a missile attack 20 kilometres away. This is no longer normal or pleasant.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s race though, the Austrian advisor is firmly on the side of Verstappen and the race officials, supporting the idea of the race taking place. He commented: “I really think it’s the right thing to do. As I said, these drone attacks are common, I think. They have a very good defence system. Why this one didn’t work remains to be seen. It’s not the first drone, after all. But it’s the first one to strike on such a scale.”

The attack took place during Friday’s first practice session, and it was Red Bull’s star man Verstappen who was one of the first to realise something was wrong after reporting on his team radio that he could ‘smell burning’. Initially, the Dutchman thought the smell was coming from either his or one of his rival’s cars, however it then became clear that an explosion had taken place just a few miles from the track.

Giving an insight into Verstappen’s initial worries, Marko said: “Max radioed us, he thought his car had caught fire because there was an intense burning smell. We were informed a drone had been sent from Yemen. The Saudis have a defence system and for some reason the drone was not intercepted.”



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