Cancer is the leading cause of death in the world, and despite the prevalence of diagnostic testing, most cancers are found at later stages when options for treatment are limited. Although cancer death rates in the US have fallen, 600,000 Americans will die in 2021 from various cancers that often have no recommended early detection screening.
Now, the Galleri test, a simple blood test for cancer screening, offers a new hope for cancer for uncovering 55 cancers among patients with undiagnosed cancers from adding to the fatality rates. The test is available exclusively at highly advanced medical centers such as WellMax, where patients come for individualized, state-of-the-art care.
The Galleri test uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) and machine-learning algorithms to analyze methylation patterns of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in the bloodstream. All cells—cancer and non-cancer—shed DNA into the bloodstream. cfDNA can carry cancer-specific information in its methylation patterns. DNA methylation is a process used by cells to regulate gene expression.
This test has caught the attention of founder?Daniel Cosgrove, MD.?“I’ve spent a lot of time reviewing the Galleri test with a scientist at Grail. There are always issues of sensitivity and specificity with a test like this. I was skeptical at first. But the science is real, and these guys know what they’re doing. We are now offering this test even without all the other tests and imaging that we normally offer as a package.”
The Galleri test was developed seven years ago after pathologists at the Illumina Group found what they first thought to be DNA abnormalities in blood samples. Suspecting cancer might be the cause, the scientists discovered that 10 study participants had a cancer diagnosis, but many others in the group had undiagnosed cancers with no symptoms. The group spun off GRAIL, a new private cancer testing that combined advances in machine learning data science with human genomics; their research led to the discovery of a new blood test that can detect early-stage cancer even without symptoms. While only a handful of cancers have diagnostic tests available, the Galleri test picks up over 50 cancerous variations
Historically, blood tests have not been helpful in detecting cancer. GRAIL uses advanced blood tests called liquid biopsies to examine cancer-related material such as DNA found in a blood sample. By scanning DNA in the blood, the test identifies genetic changes in mutations that will alert clinicians that cancer might be present.
In ongoing trials, GRAIL administered the Galleri test to 6,500 aged subjects 50 and over and accurately detected 29 different cancers. Of the 13 types of cancer they found, some were types such as breast, lung, and prostate that can be detected with current procedures, while the rest were hard-to-detect cancers. About 40% of the cancers were localized enough to permit treatment. Their conclusion was that a positive test result of 44.6% suggests that a person has cancer. False positives registered at less than 1%.
Further testing has made the test even better. It is 89% accurate in predicting the location of cancer , with 0.5% false positive rates , so your physician can properly focus diagnostic work ups and minimize unnecessary medical procedures.
The test is simple, and its ability to identify cancers early can be a game-changer in cancer detection, treatments, and mortality.
Dr. Joshua Ofman, chief medical officer and head of external affairs at GRAIL, noted in an interview with Healthline, “When a cancer signal is detected in these trials, the test also pinpoints where the cancer is located in the body with high accuracy. This helps healthcare providers determine next steps for diagnosis and care.”
The earlier cancer is detected, the more chance there is of successful treatment and survival. Cancers diagnosed before they have had the chance to spread have a 6-0year survival rate that is 4x higher then when diagnosed at later stages.
The Galleri test only requires a single blood drawing, which makes it quick, easy, and painless for both the patient and the professional who draws the blood. The sophisticated work of analyzing the results takes place behind the scenes in the lab.
The Galleri test detects methylation patterns of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) that could indicate the presence of cancer. When a cancer signal is detected, the test predicts the origin of the cancer signal with high accuracy. The Galleri test does not detect specific genetic mutations and does not determine an individual’s genetic risk for cancer.
No one wants cancer, much less to die from it. The Galleri test allows early detection, which is usually the key to stopping the progression of disease, removing it, and preventing death. It offers hope and clarity to potential cancer victims.
If you want to stop worrying about untested cancer, call us at 760-777-7698. You need a little blood test which we can do one of two ways.? Come by our office and we will do it.? Or we can send you the kit and we arrange for you to have the any Quest Diagnostics lab draw site. There are over 2000 in the USA.? Easy!
At WellMax, the Galleri test costs $1,500, which includes the test itself, and a visit to review medications and current diagnoses. Dr. Cosgrove’s team can visit with you and review medications and current diagnoses even on the telephone or Zoom, and they can order the test to be drawn at any Quest lab site.
Most insurances do not cover the Galleri test at this time. At WellMax, we can create a form you to submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement. Many patients choose to pay with their Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) or see if they qualify for one of the GRAIL flexible payment plans.
Analysis of the result of a Galleri test takes about 10 days to complete. The results might indicate that a cancer signal was detected or that none was found. Once your WellMax physician has your results in hand, they can determine the next step in a patient’s care.
Located in Southern California, WellMax attracts patients from around the world who want the best in personalized medicine. Their Executive Physicals have been recognized for their excellence and praised in several national magazines.