After Years of Research, a New Blood Test Now Screens for Over 50 Cancers

In 2021, an estimated 1.9 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. Thanks to a groundbreaking new blood test that can detect over 50 types of cancer, more people could learn about a cancer diagnosis sooner, which is important because early detection helps save lives.

Unmet need in early cancer screening

Currently, there are early screening tests for just five cancers, and they screen for a single cancer at a time: PSA test for prostate cancer, colonoscopy for colorectal cancer, mammography for breast cancer, pap smear for cervical cancer, and a low-dose CT scan for people at high risk for lung cancer.

Because there are no early detection tests for people with other types of cancer, these diseases are often only detected after symptoms arise or when cancer has spread. And once a cancer has spread, it is far more difficult to treat.

Existing screening tests save lives, and the greatest opportunity to bend the mortality curve in cancer is finding those not screened for today.

“Finding cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful, and potentially even curative, is one of the most critical medical priorities of our time,” said Dr. Josh Ofman, chief medical officer and head of external affairs at GRAIL, a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early.

A revolution in cancer detection technology

“After years of rigorous research and sharing our data with the scientific and medical community, we are a step closer to fulfilling our mission to greatly reduce late-stage cancer diagnoses through the introduction of Galleri™, our groundbreaking multi-cancer early detection blood test,” Ofman said.

In a clinical study, Galleri demonstrated the ability to detect more than 50 types of cancer with a low false positive rate of less than 1%. When a cancer signal is detected, the test can determine where in the body the cancer is located with high accuracy.

First results from PATHFINDER, an interventional study of Galleri that confirmed its performance in the clinical setting, were recently presented at the 2021 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Galleri requires a prescription and is available to U.S. patients.

The positive impact of early detection

Healthcare leaders are hopeful this new screening test could transform how cancer is discovered and treated, helping to potentially save many lives through early detection.

“The interim results of PATHFINDER demonstrate that a routine blood test is capable of detecting many different cancers even before symptoms arise, an approach that has significant potential advantages,” said Dr. Tomasz M. Beer, deputy director at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and presenting author. “Most importantly, it can detect cancers that have no recommended screening tests today, and more than two-thirds of cancers go unscreened for this reason. These results are a pivotal step towards extending early detection to many more types of cancer.”

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The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.