On 21st October 2020, Researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute used a combination of CT scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans called PSMA PET-CT to study prostate cancer. Accidentally, they discovered something that made history. It was a new body organ, “INTERSTITIUM.”
Researchers have proposed the name “tubarial glands” for their discovery. But it is not clear if it will classify the glands as a conglomerate of minor glands, an important gland, a separate organ, or a new part of an organ system.
What exactly happened?
Researchers spent their day and night to investigate the side effects of radiation on the head and neck, studying a new type of scan as part of their research work and they found two “unexpected” areas that lit up in the back of the nasopharynx. These areas looked similar to known major salivary glands, which, they believe, is good news for patients with head and neck tumors as radiation oncologists will be able to bypass this area to avoid any complications during treatment.
Why are these glands being discovered only now?
Researchers note that these glands’ location is at a poorly accessible anatomical location under the skull base, which is an area and nasal endoscopy can visualize that particular area. It is a bit complicated to find out.
What is the significance of this finding?
Researchers believe that their discovery is potentially good news for some cancer patients with head and neck cancers. Initially,Radiation therapy helps the patients who have head and neck cancers and tumors in the tongue or the throat. But it can damage the new salivary glands, which location was unknown.
Now, with their discovery, radiation oncologists will be able to circumvent these areas and protect them from the side effects of radiation, which can lead to complications such as trouble speaking, swallowing, and speaking.
Written by Palak Thakur.