The practical utility of technologies for early detection of human exposure to a variety of toxic agents has been
limited in many cases by the absence of instruments suitable for first responders and at field hospitals. Microarrays
provide multiplexed assay of a large number of human biomarkers, including cytokines and chemokines, indicators
of immune system health. Assay of saliva is less invasive and provides quick indication of exposure especially of the
respiratory system. Our pilot clinical study has uncovered an early cytokine response in human saliva. As a model
for respiratory exposure, a cohort of 16 adult volunteers was challenged with FluMistTM vaccinations, an FDA
approved, attenuated live influenza virus. Blood and saliva cytokine levels were monitored immediately prior to and
up to 7 days afterwards. Bead assay found little change in blood cytokine levels while several of those in saliva
were frequently elevated above two standard deviations on trial days one and three. We have developed a prototype
portable saliva monitoring system consisting of microarray cytokine capture plate, luminescent reporter, and whole
plate imaging. Assay is with a commercial 96-well plate spotted with up to 16 distinct biomarkers per well and read
by chemiluminescence. A battery-powered, 16-bit, cooled-CCD camera and laptop PC provide imaging and data
reduction. Detection limits of common inflammatory cytokines were measured at about 1-5 pg/ml which is within
the clinically significant range for saliva of exposed individuals, as verified for samples from the small clinical trial.
An expanded study of cytokine response in saliva of therapeutic radiation oncology patients is being launched.