Nov. 3, 2021
A new test is being called “a game-changer” because it will allow early detection of up to 50 kinds of cancer based on a simple blood draw in a doctor’s office.
Galleri, a California company, developed the test called Galleri. The company says the test can spot “signals” of up to 50 cancers, including hard-to-detect and deadly cancers such as pancreatic, ovarian, and esophageal, CBS News reported.
The test works with blood drawn by a healthcare provider. The blood is sent to the Galleri lab, where the test tracks any DNA shed by cancer cells. The results – cancer signals were or were not detected -- are returned to the health care provider in two weeks, the Galleri website says.
"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,” Julia Feygin, MD, the senior medical science liaison at Galleri, told CBS News. “We can predict with very high accuracy where in the body this cancer signal is coming from.”
Galleri says the test doesn’t diagnose cancer, doesn’t spot all cancers, and is not intended to replace U.S. guideline-recommended cancer screening.
But the company said the test could result in more early detection of cancer, which doctors stress as a key in helping people survive cancer. The American Cancer Society says 71% of cancer deaths are caused by cancers that are not normally screened for.
"In the year 2021, this is so far beyond anything else we've been able to do. This is a game-changer," Greg Plotnikoff, MD, told CBS News.
Plotnikoff, who practices in Minneapolis, says he prescribes the test for patients with risk factors for cancer because “if we can catch things earlier, we have a chance to make a significant difference."
Galleri has not obtained full FDA approval yet. The test is “intended to be used for people at an elevated risk for cancer. This can be something as simple as age," Feygin said.You’ll need a prescription to get the test and insurance doesn’t cover it, CBS News reported. The out-of-pocket cost is around $950.