According to The journal Radiotherapy and Oncology.
This nasopharynx region — behind the nose — was not thought to host anything but microscopic, diffuse, salivary glands; but the newly discovered set are about 1.5 inches (3.9 centimeters) in length on average. Because of their location over a piece of cartilage called the torus tubarius, the discoverers of these new glands have dubbed them the tubarial salivary glands. The glands probably lubricate and moisten the upper throat behind the nose and mouth.
The accidental discovery happened when Researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute used the combination of CT scans + positron emission tomography (PET) scans to study prostate cancer.
According to Live Science
In PSMA PET-CT scanning, doctors inject a radioactive “tracer” into the patient. This tracer binds well to the protein PSMA, which is elevated in prostate cancer cells. Clinical trials have found that PSMA PET-CT scanning is better than conventional imaging at detecting metastasized prostate cancer.
This discovery may mean fewer side effects for cancer patients. Because no one knew these tubarial salivary glands existed, no one avoided them in radiation treatments. An analysis of 700 cancer patients treated at the University Medical Center Groningen found the more radiation patients received to the unknown glands, the more side effects they reported.
“Our next step is to find out how we can best spare these new glands and in which patients” say the research team.
This could also be a longevity breakthrough, as these previously unknown organs may mean better medical care. A better understanding of inflation, and how therapies like IV nutrition could help treat even common ailments.
Until now, there were only three known large salivary glands in humans. Under the tongue. Under the jaw. And at the back of the jaw, near the cheeks. Thousand microscopic salivary glands found in the mucosal tissue of the human mouth, and through, but they are all microscopic. The newly discovered set are about 1.5 inches long.