Potential new organs have been found in the throat: tubular salivary glands

But that’s what a group of Dutch scientists believe. They said they had found a pair of previously neglected glands hidden in our skull where the nasal cavity and throat meet.

Medical researchers During a scan designed to look for tumor growth, they first came to the body part, which they propose to name the tubular glands. Scientists then looked at scans of the heads and necks of more than 100 individuals treating them For prostate cancer and separated two cadres – one male and one female. They all had a set.

The research was “exciting” but the authors were previously “a little skeptical”, said Matthias H., head of the Netherlands Cancer Institute and chair of surgeries at the Department of Neck Oncology and Surgery. Said Walstar.

“We thought this would not be possible to find in 2020.” Said Walstar. “It’s important that it has been replicated and that it should be done with a different category of patients. It is important to have confirmation of new medical findings.”

The newfound ‘organ’ may be the largest in your body

The study texts could not be seen with traditional methods of medical imaging such as ultrasound, CT scan (computerized topography) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), the study authors said.

The “unknown entity” was identified only when doctors were using an advanced and new type of scan called PSMA PET / CT, which has been used to detect the spread of prostate cancer. PSMA PET is short for prostate-specific membrane antigen imaging using positron emission tomography.

The salivary glands are clearly visible on this highly sensitive type of imaging.

“People have a bunch of three big salivary glands, but there isn’t one,” said study author Wouter Vogel, a radiation oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. “As far as we know, only the salivary or mucous glands in the nasopharynx are microscopically small, and about 1000 are evenly distributed in the mucosa. So, imagine our surprise when we found this.”

Many great scientific discoveries “become surprising – an accidental discovery.” Joy Radenberg, a professor of anatomy at the Ike School of Medicine at Sinai Mount in New York City, who was not involved in the study, said.

“Fortunately, these researchers were surrounded by data, and naturally enough to note the unusual brightness of the region, which was not believed to have any salivary glands,” Radenberg added via email. “As the famous (late French biologist) Louis Pasteur once said: ‘Chance favors a ready mind.’

New organ?

This overview of salivary gland tissue, as seen in PSMA PET / CT scans, shows known large salivary glands in the nasopharynx with similar imaging characteristics and unknown structure (indicated by arrows).

The topic of discussion was whether the tubercle glands are a completely new organ or whether they could be considered part of the salivary gland organ system, the study added.

“These findings support the identification of tubercle glands as new anatomical and functional entities,” the study, published in the Journal of Radiotherapy and Oncology, said.

Glands can be newly discovered, “but, it is difficult to exclude that these small salivary glands represent groups,” said Dr. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s interim president of pathology. Fitzgerald was not involved in the study.

Because the study focused on a number of patients, who were mostly male and used specific tests rather than standard tests, he added, the examination of more women and healthier patients allowed better data.

Overall, “there’s still a lot to learn about the human body,” Fitzgerald said, “and technology can make us do these discoveries. This is probably the first attempt at some exciting discovery inside the body.”

Regardless of how the glands are described, the authors said their findings have a clinical effect, especially for patients with head and throat cancer, including tumors in the throat or tongue. Radiotherapy damages the salivary glands, causing dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, speaking and eating.

“For most patients, it is technically possible to avoid delivering radiation to this newly discovered location of the salivary gland system, in the same way we would try to save known glands,” Vogel said.

“Our next step is how we can save these new glands and in which patients. If we can do this, patients may experience fewer side effects that will benefit their overall quality of life after treatment.”