Zila Professional Pharmaceuticals, a division of Zila, Inc., previewed the ViziLite(TM) chemiluminescent oral examination device at the Yankee Dental Congress, which ended recently in Boston. The ViziLite device is used in conjunction with a conventional visual oral mucosal examination to improve the identification, evaluation and monitoring of oral mucosal abnormalities in those at increased risk for oral cancer. The ViziLite test kit includes a handheld disposable chemiluminescent light and a one-percent acetic mouth rinse that work together to help dental professionals detect abnormalities in the oral cavity that might not be visible to the unaided eye.
Gregory Stoute, DMD, MPH, Chief of Dentistry, Harvard University, University Health Services and President, National Dental Association, observed, "This early detection technology should benefit a large population, and may be of particular value to vulnerable groups, such as African-Americans whose average rate of oral cancer survival is 19 percent lower than that of the general population (35 percent vs. 54 percent, according to the Government's 2000 SEER data)."
Massachusetts public health activist and conference lecturer James T. Reilly, DMD, FAGD, was impressed with a demonstration of the ViziLite technology. "When it comes to tobacco risk management, dentists are on the front line -- responsible for educating our patients as well as detecting and treating related disease. Using the ViziLite device with a mirror or intra-oral camera, the dentist can involve the patient in the oral exam, with both parties looking for lesions that appear bright white under ViziLite illumination. The ViziLite device greatly enhances the quality of the oral exam."
The American Cancer Society publication "Cancer Facts & Figures 2001" advises that risk factors for oral cancer are cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking; use of smokeless tobacco; and excessive consumption of alcohol. Some 25 percent of oral cancer occurs in people with no known risk factors. Studies have shown that if oral cancer is found at the earliest stage, treatment is simpler than for advanced-stage cancer, and more than 90 percent successful. Still, more than 8,000 Americans die of oral cancer every year (one every hour).
The ViziLite test is painless and can be performed in minutes, according to Ralph Green, DDS, Vice President and General Manager, Zila Professional Pharmaceuticals. After the patient uses the pre-rinse, the chemiluminescent light is activated and placed in its holder. The illuminated ViziLite device is then used to examine the oral cavity. The specific ViziLite wavelengths are absorbed by normal cells and reflected by abnormal cells. As a result, atypical or dysplastic mucosal abnormalities appear bright white, focusing the health professional's attention on lesions which might not be seen otherwise and which may be revealed upon biopsy to include cancer and pre-cancer.
The patented single-use ViziLite Test Kit will be distributed to U.S. and Canadian dentists exclusively by Patterson Dental Supply, Inc. Marketing will officially begin at the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting, Feb. 22-24, 2002. The ViziLite Kit will sell for approximately US$15. Zila intends to develop other international markets for the product, among dentists and physicians.