A blood test to find 50 types of cancer | Photo credit: iStock images
- Most cancers are difficult to diagnose without invasive methods, and many symptoms come too late.
- The GRAIL blood test promises to detect 50 types of cancer with near accuracy.
- But when it becomes available in the US in December, it will be priced as expensive as $ 950 and not covered by insurance.
GRAIL’s breakthrough test in cancer detection costs a fortune, and should be available at US clinics by December.
When the company GRAIL announced the groundbreaking cancer test called Gallery, which could detect 50 types of cancer, the slogan “Discover cancer early when it can be cured” raised the hope of all people.
At the American Independence Day – July 4 – this year (2021), GRAIL presented the data on the interventional pathogen study for the blood sample called Gallery, which could detect more than 50 types of cancer with a single blood sample and promised to transform early cancer detection as a supplement to existing screenings. The test is now only available by prescription in the United States.
Doctors call this a “game-changer”. Being able to catch a hard to detect and aggressive cancer, such as cancer of the pancreas and ovaries early enough with a simple blood draw, certainly sounds just that — a game changer.
Here’s what you need to know about the Gallery test:
- The gallery test is also good for detecting people who are asymptomatic.
- DNA a cancer cell secretes is traced through the test, with two tubes of blood taken out and sent to the GRAIL laboratory for analysis.
- The results are then sent back to the healthcare provider in ten working days, with the test intended for those with an increased risk of cancer.
- The test, called a multi-cancer early detection (MCED) blood test, is said to cost a hefty sum of US $ 950 – a nice Rs 70,500 (may vary when available in India).
- The gallery test does not detect all cancers and should be used in addition to routine cancer screening tests recommended by a healthcare provider.
- Gallery is recommended for use in adults with an increased risk of cancer, such as those 50 years of age or older.
- Gallery aims to detect cancer signals and predict where in the body the cancer signal is located.
How the test is performed and its interpretation:
- According to Sundhed, the blood sample requires a prescription from an authorized therapist, who can order it directly from Galleri.
- When it arrives, patients can take the test to their doctor, who will pull two vials of blood from the arm to be sent back to the GRAIL.
- GRAIL will process the blood samples in their laboratories and ping the results directly to the healthcare provider.
- The results will read either “Cancer Signal Not Detected” or “Cancer Signal Deected”.
- Results should be interpreted by a healthcare provider in the context of medical history, clinical signs and symptoms.
- A test result of “Cancer Signal Not Detected” does not rule out cancer.
- A test result of “Cancer Signal Deected” requires confirmatory diagnostic evaluation using medically established procedures (eg imaging) to confirm cancer.
- A GRAIL spokesman told Health: “Gallery is not a diagnostic test and is intended to be used as a supplement to existing cancer screenings.”
The test should not replace traditional screening methods, but rather supplement them.
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