New one-and-done DNA-based blood test that can detect as many as 50 different types of cancer is on the verge of approval

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Credit: Worldwide Cancer Research
Credit: Worldwide Cancer Research

[Grail’s prescription diagnostic] test is designed to help spot as many as 50 different cancers and uncover their original organ sites from a blood sample, a result of years of development and billions of dollars in venture capital funding.

In a paper published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology using data gathered from the company’s Circulating Cell-free Genome Atlas study, researchers found the test could detect cancer before symptoms developed while offering an overall false-positive rate of 0.5%.

However, when it came to correctly identifying tumors from samples, the test’s performance varied based on the type of cancer and how far it had progressed.

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Across all cancer types and all four stages, Grail’s Galleri test correctly identified the presence of cancer in 51.5% of cases from among more than 2,800 people already diagnosed with the disease.

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“Finding cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful, is one of the most significant opportunities we have to reduce the burden of cancer,” said the paper’s first author, Eric Klein, chairman of the Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute.

“These data suggest that, if used alongside existing screening tests, the multi-cancer detection test could have a profound impact on how cancer is detected and, ultimately, on public health,” Klein said in a statement.

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