Researchers in the Netherlands have found an unexpected new organ in the human throat while completing prostate cancer examination. Specialists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute have distinguished many salivary organs somewhere down in the upper aspect of the throat and have named them “tubarial salivary organs.”
As indicated by an investigation published in the diary Radiotherapy and Oncology, the specialists affirmed the organs’ presence in the wake of inspecting 100 patients. The revelation might be significant for cancer treatment. Until now, this nasopharynx region — behind the nose — was not thought to have anything other than microscopic salivary organs.
The newfound biological structures are about 1.5 inches (3.9 centimetres) long overall and are situated over a bit of ligament called the torus tubarius. The organs presumably lubricate the upper throat behind the nose and mouth as per the specialists.
This research is expected to be significant in treating cancer patients. Till now there were just three known huge salivary organs in people: one under the tongue, one under the jaw and one at the rear of the jaw, behind the cheek. Apart from this, few minute salivary structures are dispersed all through the throat and mouth. The presence of a significant salivary organ behind the nasopharynx area was not known.
“Beyond those, perhaps a thousand microscopic salivary glands are scattered throughout the mucosal tissue of the throat and mouth. So, imagine our surprise when we found these,” study co-author and Netherlands Cancer Institute radiation oncologist Wouter Vogel said in an official statement.
The new organ was found while researchers were examining prostate cancer cells utilizing PSMA PET-CT innovation — a blend of CT scans and positron emission tomography (PET) — which is acceptable in distinguishing salivary tissues. In this procedure, a radioactive “tracer” is infused into the patient, that ties to the protein PSMA which is then raised to the prostate cancer cells.
The paper published by the team in Radiotherapy and Oncology noted that this identification “could help explain and avoid radiation-induced side effects,” such as trouble during eating, swallowing, and speaking. The team conducted a study on 723 patients who had undergone radiation therapy for their cancer treatment and discovered greater complications were found and reported in patients who had more radiation delivered to these glands.
“Our next step is to find out how we can best spare these new glands and in which patients. If we can do this, patients may experience fewer side effects, which will benefit their overall quality of life after treatment,” Vogel said.
Why this organ may be helpful for cancer patients?
During the radiation treatment for treating cancer in the head and neck, the specialists attempt to stay away from the principle salivary organ as harming them could make it hard for the patient to talk, swallow and eat. In such a case, the research on the new gland can be very useful in the treatment of cancer as specialists didn’t know about its existence prior to the research.