But a team of scientists from the Netherlands believes. The newly found glands were connected to large draining ducts, which suggested that they were funneling fluid from one place in the body to another, the researchers said.
Medical researchersDuring a scan created to see tumor growth, it first came across the body area, which suggests naming for the tubular glands.
Netherlands researchers stumbled upon a couple of unknown glands, which they could now spare as they do with other known glands in cancer patients undergoing radiation. They all had a set.
Therefore, the findings of the study also open new avenues for the treatment of cancer.
"We thought we couldn't figure this out in 2020", Wallstar said. The scans they were studying highlighted the salivary glands through the use of a marker, so they could avoid damaging them during treatment. PSMA PET is an acronym for prostate-specific membrane antigen imaging using positron emission tomography.
The glands can not be seen with imaging methods such as ultrasounds, CT scans or MRIs, according to the study authors. News report in May.
There are approximately 1,000 minor salivary glands too, situated throughout the oral cavity and the aerodigestive tract, but these are generally too small to be seen without a microscope. So imagine our surprise when we discovered this!
Many great scientific discoveries "come as a surprise - an incidental finding", Joy Reidenberg said, a professor of anatomy at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who wasn't involved in the study.
But some observers aren't yet convinced that Vogel and his colleagues have, in fact, discovered a fourth set of salivary glands. "As the famous (late French biologist) Louis Basher once said: 'Opportunity to support the prepared mind'".
As the new glands lie over a piece of cartilage called the torus tubarius, the discoverers have proposed to name them "tubarial salivary glands". Salivary glands, to anyone dealing in oncology, are incredibly important and fragile tissues, which can easily be zapped and lose their utility if accidentally hit with radiation.
Proof of the beforehand unidentified organs was printed final month in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology, even supposing research creator and surgeon Dr. Matthijs Valstar had got down to research prostate most cancers. Before making this discovery, Valstar and Vogel had been focusing on radiation's effect while treating tumors in the throat or tongue.
Overall, there is "still much to learn about the human body", she said, "and technology is allowing us to make these discoveries". In the meantime, scientists are excited about the implication of the discovery.
The discovery could help explain why patients who receive radiation therapy for cancers in the head or neck region commonly experience dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, Vogel added, noting that because they were not previously detected, "nobody ever tried to spare them".