The advancement of techniques used to screen for oral cancers has been negligible for decades. Despite the mouth being an easily accessible part of the body, testing for neoplasia in this area relies almost entirely on the visual acuity of one’s dental provider. Excluding knowledge of risk factors and genetic predispositions, screening for potential oral neoplasia occurs only when an abnormality can be seen with the naked human eye. To prevent the development of cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma, there must be a screen that allows providers to catch the issue before it has spread. The current standard is to visit a dentist and have a dye test or biopsy done. In this study, we have explored the concept of a testing method that any individual could complete at home, with chewing gum. Acknowledging that collagen has been shown to increase adherence rates within OSCC (oral squamous cell carcinoma) cell lines, we chose to mix a collagen additive into a gum base. We then tested the collagen-enriched gum against a control gum free of additives to determine whether the collagen would increase the screening potential for a specific p53 tumor suppressor gene mutation. Samples of both types of gum were disseminated amongst a small population including individuals with known oral squamous cell carcinoma. Upon collection of the samples, polymerase chain reaction was performed to determine whether a mutation in one of three exons would be diagnostic of potential oral cancer. After verifying that exon 8 held the greatest diagnostic potential, another experiment was run with a focus on that primer. Preliminary results indicate that the collagen-infused gum may create greater adherence amongst neoplastic cells.

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