"The disease is usually identified fairly late in progression," Rosin said. "At that stage, it is frequently not amenable to the successful intervention that we'd like. The whole deal of changing survival outcome is that you have to get at the disease earlier."
British Columbia is a likely setting for developing a triage model to screen and identify high risk lesions among dental patients. Ninety percent of the Province's residents see a dentist at least once every two years. Approximately 2,500 dentists in British Columbia form a potential Province-wide screening network that will forward high risk patients to special care facilities.
"With enough training of those who are doing the screening, the dye should help the clinicians find those patients with lesions that should really be moved forward for assessment," Rosin said. Training and technology should enable the people at the point of screening to determine whether the lesion should be monitored, or if the patient should be referred for further assessment. In some cases, the dentist can decide immediately whether a biopsy should be taken at that point.
The multidisciplinary research team that collaborates with Rosin includes pathologists, oral medicine specialists, dentists, oral surgeons, radiation oncologists, molecular biologists, statisticians and epidemiologists.
Her colleagues include, the lead author on the publication, Lewei Zhang, Catherine Poh, Robert Priddy, University of British Columbia; Michele Williams, Joel Epstein, Scott Durham, Nhu Le, Greg Hislop, John Hay, Wan Lam, British Columbia Cancer Agency/Cancer Research Center; Hisae Nakamura, Denise Laronde, Simon Fraser University; and Ken Berean, Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Center, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.