Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered a potential new organ in the human throat that they stumbled upon while carrying out research on prostatecancer, Livescience reported. Researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute have identified a set of salivary glands deep in the upper part of the throat and have named them “tubarial salivary glands”.
According to a study published in the journal Radiotherapy and Oncology, the researchers confirmed the presence of the glands after examining at least 100 patients.
The discovery may be important for cancer treatment. So far, this nasopharynx region — behind the nose — was not thought to host anything but microscopic, diffuse, salivary glands.
The newly discovered glands are about 1.5 inches (3.9 centimeters) in length on average and are located over a piece of cartilage called the torus tubarius, Livescience reported. According to the researchers, the glands probably lubricate and moisten the upper throat behind the nose and mouth.