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Oral rinse can track marrow transplant patients' progress

Analysis of an oral rinse from bone marrow transplant patients could provide a quick indication of the efficacy of the transplant and the danger of post-operative infection, scientists from the University of Toronto report.

Blood tests are commonly used to confirm a successful bone marrow transplant based on the presence of neutrophils - specialized white blood cells that fight infection. The UT researchers analyzed sodium bicarbonate solutions used as oral rinses by 29 pediatric bone marrow transplant patients to determine if the same markers of infection could be detected in saliva.

They found that neutrophils were detectable in the oral rinse about a week earlier than they appeared in blood samples, according to lead researcher Dr. Michael Glogauer, a UT professor of dentistry with the CIHR Group in Matrix Dynamics.

The span between the time the neutrophils were detectable in the oral rinse samples and the time they appeared in the blood samples also provided a good indication of which patients would be prone to infection during recovery, according to the UT scientists. A difference of less than four days was an "excellent indicator" of susceptibility to infection.

'This test is telling you something you can't yet see in a blood test," Dr. Glogauer said. "And we obtained the information simply by having patients rinse their mouths, which is something they'd be doing anyway to counteract the oral mucositis caused by their treatment regimen."

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

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