The Galleri blood test: New analysis detects 50 types of cancer
The test will go on sale at the end of the year and is able to find tumors before symptoms even appear
The key to treating cancer is an early diagnosis. However, many types of cancer are difficult to detect in the early stages and are discovered when it is too late for many patients. After years of research, a new technology has been developed that could completely change the fight against the disease.
It's called the Galleri Test and it was developed by the GRAIL company of Menlo Park, California. It can detect up to 50 different types of cancer, including many that are not checked for at routine checkups. It only requires a blood sample. Dr Sarah Moseley, who works at the company, summed up the strategy like this: “We cannot win this war by detecting cancer one at a time. We need multiple approaches.”
The test analyzes the DNA in the blood to determine whether or not there are changes in the chemistry of fragments of the genetic code. The laboratory ensures that the results are highly accurate when it comes to finding the mutations. The best news is that these modified DNA leaks reach the blood, sometimes long before cancer develops.
Although scientists have long known that cancer modifies DNA in blood, it has taken much longer for technology to get to the point where it can detect these changes with the necessary precision. Clinical trials have shown a negligible margin of error of 0.5%.
Early detection of cancer can completely change the fight against the disease and the lives of your patients. It can be used in the United States, where it is still awaiting final approval from the FDA. The United Kingdom has started a study for future use.
We will have to wait to see its use in other parts of the world, such as in Europe. Far from seeking the development of clinical trials, the European Union is investigating the merger of Illumina and GRAIL, the two genetic sequencing companies, for a possible conflict that harms competition.
“It can be the difference between curable cancer and a non-curable one. When they are detected early, many times they can be operated and cured, but if they spend a lot of time in the body they can begin to spread,” said one of the company's doctors.
However, the test will not replace other tests already used today to find tumors.