Finnish researchers have developed a chewing gum which could help fight against oral cancer, Finnish newspaper Etela-Suomen Sanomat reported on Thursday.
The gum, known as kystelin, has been developed by researchers from the University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital. The effectiveness of the gum is based on its ability to absorb the specific carcinogen (acetaldehyde) that forms in the mouth when smoking.
Further research and trials are needed to determine its ultimate effectiveness. These will soon get underway, says Professor Mikko Salaspuro from the University of Helsinki. The gum could go on sale later this year.
A similar preparation in tablet form is also being developed for heavy-users of alcohol. They are particular at risk from oral cancer owing to the presence of acetaldehyde. A tablet which would be attached to the gum would remove the carcinogen within two to three hours.
Estimates show that 80% of all cases of oral, throat and oesophagus cancers in the industrialized world are caused by a combination of tobacco and alcohol.