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Biotech Science

Researchers Create a Protein Map of Human Spit 110

Posted by samzenpus
from the doctor-saliva dept.
Ant writes "United States researchers have identified all 1,116 unique proteins found in human saliva glands. It was a discovery they said on Tuesday that could usher in a wave of convenient, spit-based diagnostic tests that could be done without the need for a single drop of blood. As many as 20 percent of the proteins found in saliva are also found in blood, said Fred Hagen, a researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York who worked on the study."
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Researchers Create a Protein Map of Human Spit

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  • dot dot dot
    • They collected saliva from a whopping 23 people to come up with this wonder list of proteins. Ever heard of genetic variation? dot dot dot seems appropriate...
      • Re:Yes... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Eggplant62 (120514) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:44AM (#22879618)
        Funny thing is, companies like Genova Diagnostics of North Carolina [gdx.net] have been doing saliva hormone testing for several years now and have touted it as the only way to get true levels of estradiol, testosterone, cortisol, progesterone, DHEA and others. A doctor that I worked for 3-4 years ago to set up a fellowship in functional medicine was big into saliva testing and hormone balancing based on these saliva tests, and she's still doing some good work today. I know she's worked with lots of patients, mostly premenopausal and menopausal women, and has helped them with maladies that go along with menopause like headaches, osteoporosis, and all the uncomfortable changes that go along with the big change in life. Biggest problem she's had is getting the mainstream insurance companies to accept her work and the work of others that have gone toward supporting the use of saliva hormone testing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by packeteer (566398)
          I know she's worked with lots of patients, mostly premenopausal and menopausal women,

          So you mean all women?
          • No, I mean women in their 40s and on up, nearing that big change in life called menopause. What, I have to be this bloody specific for you idiots??
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Carnivore (103106)
              You're using the term "pre-menupausal" in a very specific way, like pre-eclampsia. You mean "in the stages immediately preceding menopause", but to someone not in the field, pre-menupausal can appear to indicate the stage of life before menopause starts--any female who hasn't gone through menopause.

              I don't know a better term for it, but you can see how some people could get confused especially if they're pre-caffeineated.
              • by packeteer (566398)
                It was a joke.

                but you can see how some people could get confused especially if they're pre-caffeineated.

                but i think you got it eventually.
      • They collected saliva from a whopping 23 people to come up with this wonder list of proteins. Ever heard of genetic variation?

        No, I'm sure they have never ever heard of genetic variation. Being biochemists, they are probably completely ignorant of the basics of biology.

        There are over a thousand proteins in spit apperantly, identifying them from one individual alone is no easy or cheap thing. 23 is a good canvassing given the state of funding of the sciences and how much this must have cost. And how much

        • Edit: "You're not likely to have even 100 proteins different between any two individuals..." should have continued "because of genetic variation."
  • in Singapore. Damn shame...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      correctly?
      • 1. Boring, plain subjects (like this one) don't get attention, and don't get moderated. You have to use a subject that grabs attention and stimulates curiosity if you don't want to get completely ignored. A lot of good comments go unnoticed because of they have nice proper subject lines.
        2. In some cases, it enhances the humor (as has already been mentioned).
        • > 1. Boring, plain subjects (like this one) don't get attention, and don't get moderated.

          My experience indicates that the only things you have to avoid are:

          1) leaving the subject "Re: ..."
          2) using a subject which lacks content

          I get lots of positive mods using straightforward, rather boring, subjects.
    • by Fex303 (557896)

      in Singapore. Damn shame...
      ...lah.
  • by ed__ (23481) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:55AM (#22879200) Journal
    punch them in the mouth a few times.

    i call dibs on the patent to beating patients as a diagnostic tool.

    anyone want to participate in clinical trials?

    • by sukotto (122876)
      rule #1 You do not talk about Fight Diagnostics
      rule #2 You DO NOT TALK about Fight Diagnostics ...
    • Soon patients will be properly conditioned to "drool" for the doctor when he rings a bell.
      All the research has been done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Pavlov/ [wikipedia.org]

    • anyone want to participate in clinical trials?
      I doubt anyone will be interested in requesting this treatment, but you could probably give out lots of free samples.
  • Damn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @03:55AM (#22879206) Homepage
    I read it as "Researchers Create a Protein Map of Human Spirit." Much more interesting that way.
  • Does this mean I have to take my girlfriend into the lab with me, whenever I want to get tested?

    Yeah, I know, Slashdot == no girlfriend. Save your reply.

  • build this diagnostic into paving slabs and fit it in the far East and you could test 98% of the population in a couple of hours I reckon. Seriously, what is it with spitting in the street out there? Yeah, yeah - kinda off topic.
  • by Martian_Kyo (1161137) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @04:29AM (#22879320)
    but after rtfa, I must say it is pretty cool. The spit based tests would make the trip to hospitals whole lot less stressful. However what is not mentioned is reliability of these tests, or mainly how many false positives it gives for let's say breast cancer. If 100% of women with breast cancer have a certain protein, but also 60% of women who don't have breast cancer have that same protein, it makes the test...well less effective.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zwei2stein (782480)
      As long as you know reliability scope of test, i.e. that it gives false positives and never false negatives, test is worth it.

      Simple test like this could be very effective at bringing up potential problems which can be investigated and verified by more accurate tests.

      Also, you can use lots of such "unreliable" tests to build reliable model ... logic is great tool if used correctly.
      • I suppose if the processing of the spit is cheap enough it could be used as some sort of preliminary test.
        • by fbartho (840012)
          Well, for example, using the GP's hypothetical situation, knowing that it has no false negatives could be easily used to rule out breast cancer as a cause. So if a patient comes in and tests negative, then they can cheaply, instantly rule out breast cancer, and move on to other possible causes...
    • Just thought I would point out some techniques that can quickly(?) tell you a great deal about the quantities of various proteins, iTRAQ is one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITRAQ [wikipedia.org]. So an effective assay might look at the ratios of dozens of proteins and their relative abundance, not that iTRAQ is scalable for regular clinical tests. It is quite expensive as kits. On the other hand if twenty proteins seem to be key indicators of cancer a protocol using antibodies for each to partially purify the proteins
    • but after rtfa, I must say it is pretty cool.

      I decided just for a lark to see if there was a Wikipedia article on spit. And lo and behold, there was an article on both saliva [wikipedia.org] and spitting [wikipedia.org]. The latter is an entertaining read, but the article on saliva is equally good.

      Didja know, for example, spit contains water, mucus, antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes? Add sugar and some colour, and it sounds a lot like Gatorade. Or that the average person produces just under a litre a day of it? The
      • Licking wounds helps them heal for the first few licks.... then it aggravates the wound which will then never heal. Add to the fact that the same vet probably supplied a topical antibiotic that is 100 times more effective for whatever infection the dog has, which the dog would promptly lick off and you have a good case for a funnel collar.

        If our natural immune system (or our dogs') were the best cure for all disease/infection, we wouldn't have discovered more potent treatments.

        Licking is the best immediate
        • Licking wounds helps them heal for the first few licks.... then it aggravates the wound which will then never heal.

          Well, that's the advice you get from the vet, but it's so general that it's almost as meaningless.

          For example, take the term aggravation. What's aggravating, the pain from the wound itself, or an irritation that would mitigated by cleaning up the wound of what's causing the aggravation. Animals have little to no problem dealing with pain, but if something is irritating them, they'll most cert
      • > Didja know, for example, spit contains water, mucus, antibacterial compounds, enzymes, and electrolytes?

        Of course! It's got what plants crave!
    • Yeah....sounds good to me too.

      I was always skeptical while giving blood sample for any reason....suspecting it could be used for DNA analysis.

      IANAE, but feel that spit can't be (mis)used for DNA analysis. Hope some expert could comment on it.

      • by nahdude812 (88157) *
        I am not a forensic scientist, but I believe it's common practice to use saliva recovered from discarded coffee cups, cigarette butts, and the like to recover a DNA sample. I don't know how complete the DNA is (ie, could it be used by your health insurance company to deny you coverage for a genetic condition), but I'd imagine it depends on how old the saliva is, and how exposed it is to compromising factors like temperature or chemicals. I believe the source of the DNA is the soft cheek cells which are pr
    • Well sir, we've gotten your spit test results back and according to this your blood consists of a mixture of chocolate and caramel, and you are packed with peanuts.
  • My apologies for the pedantry, as I'm not normally one to be the grammar police, but I just can't tolerate the sentence structure of this post. Let's try again:

    "Researchers in the United States announced Tuesday that they have identified all 1,116 unique proteins found in human saliva glands. The discovery could usher in a wave of convenient, spit-based diagnostic tests that could be done without the need for a single drop of blood. Fred Hagen, a researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center in

  • by Waccoon (1186667) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:14AM (#22879504)
    Man, it's hard enough to fill those little cups with urine, but now they want a cup full of spit? They'd better have a good, stimulating magazine to help with that, like Texas Chili Monthly.
  • by PHPfanboy (841183) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @05:25AM (#22879536)
    Would that come under biology or ornithology?
  • by macshit (157376)

    It was a discovery they said on Tuesday that could usher in a wave of convenient, spit-based diagnostic tests

    Oh, sure, that's what they told the funding bodies, but let's be honest: they did this research simply so they could publish papers with titles like "A Comprehensive Analysis of Spit."

  • My brother, who works in a museum restoring old wooden objects, sometimes uses spit to remove stains. he smiles and says: this needs an enzymatic clean... spit...rub... gone. Does this research mean that some chemical company can now manufacture and sell this stuff? Superfluous nonsense. Spit is brilliant, also excellent for wiping spectacles, and to remove stains from clothes.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      Spit is also great as an anti-fog agent inside diving masks.

      Ditto for car windshields when you've accidently gotten some Fantastik or Spray 9 on them while cleaning the dash ...

      Also, saying "I protein map on your grave" sounds like something Dougie Howser in "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" would do ...

  • is to clone spit so we might finally have a cure for dry mouth. The makers of Gatoraide have called this Frankenscience and tampering with the natural order of things. They've sponsored a bill called "Ban Dolly's Spit". "Where will it end" said a spokesman for the company? "Are we gonna clone sweat next?"
    • Maybe the fake spit will be developed at Florida's in-state rival Florida State. Then the new product can be called Seminole Fluid.

      Thanks, folks. I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip you waiters.
  • "Hey dude have you got a map?" *gets a wad shot at her* "Ewww! What the hell was that for?!"
    "well you didn't say what kind of map..."
  • Find something like spit, earwax, or the gunk between your toes, do shotgun DNA sequencing, and call it a something-ome. For bonus, you could supply the sequences as an attached PDF file (I'm not kidding, something like this has been done--800 pages of PDF "supplemental material"). I find these articles in major journals about once a week and they are as boring to read as the list of ingredients on a box of cereal.
  • Genome is called a "map", because you "map" genes to the positions in chromosomes and plasmids. This is the first time I see proteome (idiotic term as well) being called a "map".
    • English is a living language, thus the word 'map' has come to mean something somewhat different in the context of biology, medicine etc.. And no, that's not a bad thing.
  • Is that the protein level before or AFTER a date?

    Ya know, there are just too many jokes that can be made about this article.....
  • Mt. Hoark
    Drool Falls
    Booger Bayou
    Loogie River
    Ptui Peak
  • Are there some difficulties involved in finding them? How does one do?

    Side note: I for one like needles and stuff, cause I'm interested in medicine and that is as close as I usually get to it. I donate blood, that's a great thing! You get in contact with medical care and get to do things to your body (which is nice, if you're bent like me), you save other people's lives in an old-fashioned "every one need to help now" way (makes it feel like war times) and you can play jokes on the overly caring nurses by

  • Metabolomics has progressed from urine to spittle! Wow, and less smelly!
  • Make sure and gargle with egg whites before you walk into the doctor's office?
  • It starts digesting food.
    It attacks germs coming into mouth and alimentary canal.
    It may have aphrodesiac properties, stimulating love making.
    Its an emergency fluid/lubricant.
    It may be social communication - spitting, drooling.
    Its state is indicative of physical health.
    Others, I've forgotten.

    A thousand proteins sounds fair.
  • How many different proteins are made by the human body as a whole, if over 1,000 are in saliva? Do current DNA maps tell all the proteins? What are the current esimates?
  • And kissing just got even sexier!

Byte your tongue.

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