Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2021

We recently shared news of an AI-supported blood test that can detect many types of cancer. Now, another iteration of this solution is available from a California-based company called GRAIL.

The company’s new test, called Galleri, is intended to be used in concert with other early cancer detection systems and can pinpoint 50 types of cancer, including difficult to detect and aggressive types such as pancreatic, ovarian, and esophageal.

How does it work? The test relies on the DNA signature in our blood to track the DNA a cancer cell sheds. “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. We can predict with very high accuracy where in the body this cancer signal is coming from,” said Dr. Julia Feygin, a member of the team which developed the test.

The test takes just 10 business days, and a Mayo Clinic study of 6,600 participants found that the test had a less than 1 percent false positive rate. Of the thousands tested, 29 patients had signals that were followed by a cancer diagnosis. 

Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover the test yet, and it’s only available by prescription. A single test will cost you $949 out-of-pocket, but the team is optimistic that once it receives full FDA approval, the test will become more available and affordable.

According to the American Cancer Society, 71 percent of cancer deaths come from types of cancer that have no recommended screening, so a simple blood test to determine cancer presence early could be revolutionary.

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