A Blood Test that Detects Multiple Types of Cancer

Posted by Anjali Virendra Chaube on Sat, Jul 10, 2021  
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A Human body is made up of trillions of biological and structural units called cells. They are the building blocks of the Human body. Cancer is an abnormal growth of these cells with the potential to spread over other parts of the body. The Cancer Atlas stated that in 2018 there were approximately 18.1 million cancer cases and approximately 9.6 million cancer deaths worldwide. There have been one in four men and one in five women with cancer, and one in eight men and one in eleven women dying from cancer.

“ A thorough and organized large-scale global response to fight cancer is delayed. Further holdups will mean needless deaths, deteriorating injustices, and a failure to realize health, economic, and societal benefits “

~ Global health systems expert Rifat Atun, and medical oncologist Franco Cavalli.

The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chance of recovery and survival. Regardless, too frequently cancer is not detected until it's in a developed stage. Cancer screening allows the detection of cancers before the indication appears. The cancer screening tests may involve Medical imaging, blood tests, DNA tests, Urinary tests or any other tests. Screening tests for cancers can save many lives by diagnosing the cancers at early stages. For certain types of cancers, screening tests are only advised for people at risk. After a screening test, if cancer is detected then more detailed follow-up examinations are conducted to reach a precise diagnosis. These Screening tests for cancer can lead to cancer prevention by early detection and diagnosis. Early diagnosis may bring a higher success rate for accurate treatment as well as a longer life expectancy.

GRAIL, an American biotechnology and pharmaceutical company, which began in 2015 as a start-up in California, striving to create an early cancer screening test for society who do not have symptoms. On 27 November 2020, GRAIL announced a commercial alliance with UK's National Health Service, to conduct a trial for the "Galleri test". In June 2021, they launched a simple blood test named, Galleri test. Galleri test is one of the three multicancer screening tests under the investigation; the other two tests are the CancerSEEK and the PanSeer assay. The Galleri test uses next-generation sequencing to detect DNA fragments in blood samples, detects DNA methylation, patterns that may be associated with certain types of cancer, which potentially makes it possible to achieve early detection of cancer and also provides information about the origin of cancer.

Research study shows that through a single blood draw Galleri test can detect multiple types of cancers. Once the cancer signal is detected, the Galleri test can also determine the location of cancer with great accuracy and thus, contributes to the success of the next diagnostic step. According to scientists, Galleri can detect more than 50 types of cancers before the onset of clinical symptoms, so it can be used as a screening test for a variety of cancers.

“ The most important thing is that it can detect cancers that are not currently recommended for screening today. More than two-thirds of cancers are not screened for this specific reason ”

~ study presenting author Tomasz Beer, M.D., deputy director, Oregon Health and Science University, Knight Cancer Institute.

In a study published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, GRAIL stated that its test can better detect cancers that may be more aggressive than expected cancers based on a person’s age and the tumour’s stage and the type of tumour.


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