We all know early detection saves lives. What if there was a blood test for cancer that could find asymptomatic disease in stages I or II? Game-changer, right? Well, the Galleri test does exactly that. Developed in mid-2021, it is still undergoing evaluation and is not yet FDA-approved.
If you’re as excited as I am about the potential this holds, you may be interested in learning how to register as a study participant. Everything you need to know is covered in today’s post.
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When cancer is detected in its early stages, before it has spread, the overall 5‑year survival rate is 4 times higher than when diagnosed in later stages.Galleri.com
We became aware of the Galleri test and Pathfinder study via our connection with the Cleveland Clinic. While I did not qualify for this amazing study due to my diagnosis last year, Natty Guy did.
He registered last fall and was contacted by a liaison in January. Setting up the blood test was quick and the results came in just a week or two. We were delighted to find that no cancers were detected in his blood!
About Galleri: A Blood Test for Cancer
The Galleri blood test can detect over 50 types of cancer, many of which are not currently screened for today (including my own). This simple blood draw can detect cancers that shed DNA into the bloodstream by using next-generation sequencing (NGS) and machine-learning algorithms.
Quite a few of the cancers that the Galleri test detects are ones that are typically asymptomatic until Stage IV, when an individual’s prognosis is much worse. Natty Guy and I have both known people with mesothelioma, pancreatic, and bile duct cancer – all of whom were diagnosed in Stage IV. An effective early detection tool has the ability to drastically change the outcomes for people with these often lethal cancers.
“Twelve cancers, including anal, bladder, colorectal, esophageal, head and neck, liver/bile-duct, lung, lymphoma, ovary, pancreatic, plasma-cell neoplasm and stomach cancer, account for about two-thirds of all cancer deaths in the U.S.,” says Dr. Klein. “For these 12, Galleri finds about 40% of stage I cancers, 67% of stage II cancers, 80% of stage III cancers and 95% of stage IV cancers.”Cleveland Clinic
When you take the Galleri test, you have two potential outcomes:
- No cancer signal was detected.
- A cancer signal was detected.
If cancer is detected, the Galleri test can narrow down which organ group the cancer is likely coming from. Then your physician will direct you to additional testing (more bloodwork, a CT, or ultrasound).
The Galleri test has a 0.5% false-positive rate. This is much better than traditional screening tests with false positives of 10-40%. Galleri finds over 50% of all cancers and close to 70% of the 12 cancers that account for 2/3 of all US deaths! Furthermore, it’s 89% in effective in detecting where the cancer started.
Regardless of whether your test showed a signal or not, it is recommended that you continue with all standard cancer screenings as appropriate for your age (mammograms, HPV/Pap tests, colonoscopies, PSA tests, and low-dose lung cancer CT for former smokers).
The Cleveland Clinic Pathfinder Study
As I mentioned earlier, Natty Guy took his test through the Cleveland Clinic Pathfinder study. To qualify, you need to be 50 years or older and either:
- A healthy individual at average risk for cancer.
- An individual with an increased risk of cancer due to:
- having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your lifetime
- having a known genetic syndrome (BRCA, HNPCC, Lynch, etc.)
- having been treated for invasive cancer at least 3 years ago and are currently cancer-free
If you are interested in applying for the Cleveland Clinic Pathfinder study, you can register here. Demand has been intense so you may need to wait several months before a liaison from the clinic reaches out to you.
Other health systems working with Galleri include Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University, Dana Farber, Johns Hopkins, and Cancer Research UK in the United Kingdom.
Lastly, if you fall outside of all these areas and are still interested in the Galleri test, you can reach out to your healthcare provider and have them register with GRAIL, the healthcare company developing the test.
Once FDA-approved, annual screening with this test is sure to have an incredible impact on cancer outcomes nationwide and across the globe!
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I reach the three-year mark for eligibility without incident and can then get this test as well! Would you consider getting tested? Why or why not?
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