GRAIL and Quest Seek to Advance Multi-Cancer Early Detection Blood Test
Cancer detection company GRAIL has entered into an agreement with Quest Diagnostics that sees Quest providing phlebotomy services to support GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection blood test Galleri™.
Quest operates 2,200 patient service centers and employs 5,000 mobile phlebotomists who have experience and expertise in providing phlebotomy services for at-home visits. Through this agreement with GRAIL, Quest’s phlebotomy network will help the Galleri test in blood specimen collection throughout the U.S. once Galleri becomes available in the second quarter of 2021. Initially, the prescription-only blood test will only be available through partner health systems, medical practices and self-insured employers.
“Today, the majority of cancers go undetected until too late when outcomes are often deadly, and we believe Galleri could offer a unique and potentially life-saving solution by finding multiple types of cancers earlier,” according to a statement made by Dr. Joshua Ofman, GRAIL’s chief medical officer and head of external affairs. “We are pleased to work with Quest and are very encouraged by the interest in Galleri. Our agreement with Quest will help us support convenient access to blood collection for patients and healthcare providers.”
Kristie M. Dolan, Quest’s vice president and general manager, Oncology Clinical Franchise, added that the company’s “diagnostic innovation,” including multi-cancer early detection services, which represent a crucial aspect of cancer diagnostics and ultimately cancer screening, monitoring and management. “Galleri is a pioneer in early detection innovation,” said Dolan, “and we are eager to support GRAIL’s efforts to make it accessible to patients across the United States.”
In December of last year, a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention estimated that the annual use of Galleri, among other multi-cancer early detection blood tests, could reduce late-stage cancer diagnoses by more than 50% in people aged 50 to 79 in the U.S. The study suggests that this reduction could potential translate to a 39% reduction in five-year cancer deaths for patients who had their cancer detected earlier. Overall, this could result in a 26% overall reduction in all five-year cancer deaths.
An earlier iteration of the Galleri test was capable of detecting over 50 different cancer types, many of which did not have corresponding recommended screening tests. Additionally, the earlier version of GRAIL’s test featured a low false positive rate of less than 1%. Once Galleri detects a cancer signal, it can then get to work to identify the location of that signal, typically with high accuracy, according to the company’s statement. This occurs all from a single blood draw.
Currently, Galleri is only available under investigational use in the prospective, interventional PATHFINDER trail, which is evaluating the test’s implementation in clinical practice. GRAIL says they hope to offer Galleri to eligible patients in the U.K. sometime this year in line with a collaboration with the UK National Health Service.
Earlier this year, GRAIL also entered into collaborations with Amgen, AstraZeneca and Bristol Myers Squibb to advance studies in GRAIL’s methylation-based technology in the detection of minimal residual disease (MRD) in cancer.
“Achieving better clinical outcomes relies upon our understanding of cancer progression and the field needs more robust testing capabilities,” said Amgen’s Narimon Honarpour, vice president, Translational Medicine, at the time of the announcement. Carl Barrett, vice president, Translational Science, Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, added, “This collaboration with GRAIL will allow us to test a promising approach for monitoring MRD and detecting recurrence – tools that will provide critical information that we hope can optimize patient treatment plans.”
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