Blood Test That Can Detect More Than 50 Types of Cancer Is Finally Available


In September, random clinical trials began of a blood test called Galleri, which can detect more than 50 types of cancer, many difficult to spot early. Now, the test is finally available for certain individuals at high risk.

New cancer-detecting blood test successful, less than 1% false-positive rate

A number of clinical trials have been performed to test the efficacy of a blood test called Galleri that identifies over 50 types of cancer. Doctors are calling it a “game changer” for its ability to identify hard-to-detect, aggressive, and often deadly types of cancer, including pancreatic, ovarian, and esophageal.

“In the year 2021, this is so far beyond anything else we’ve been able to do,” said Dr. Greg Plotnikoff. “This is a game-changer.”

One of the most recent tests has been an interventional study that included Mayo Clinic with 6,600 participants, CBS reports. The study returned 29 signals that were followed by a cancer diagnosis.

In an additional study, there was less than a 1% false-positive rate.

The test was developed by a company called GRAIL, based in Menlo Park, California.

A randomized, controlled clinical trial in Britain by the state-run National Health Service (NHS) conducted in September recruited 140,000 volunteers, Reuters reported.

“Game changing” cancer-detecting blood test now available for some

The test is now available, but not for everyone. It is prescription only, and it is intended to be used by people who are at elevated risk for cancer over a number of factors, including simply age.

However, most insurance does not currently cover the test. Anyone wishing to have the test must pay an out-of-pocket cost of $949 currently.

“If cancers can be detected early, we can dramatically improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Julia Feygin, who is part of the team that developed the test.

How the test works

Human blood contains a DNA signature. The test works by tracking the DNA that is shed by cancer cells. For the test, two tubes of blood are drawn and sent for analysis to GRAIL’s lab. Results are returned to the healthcare provider within 10 business days.

“We can find and sequence these tiny bits of tumor-derived DNA in the blood and, based on the patterns we see, we can reveal if there is a signal for cancer present,” Dr. Feygin explained. “We can predict with very high accuracy where in the body this cancer signal is coming from.”