MemorialCare Research Program is one of just two sites in Southern California offering the PATHFINDER 2 Study – a study designed to evaluate the performance of a multi-cancer early detection test, called Galleri, that detects up to 50 types of cancer through a single blood draw. Because cancer cells present themselves differently from healthy cells, the Galleri test looks for signals present in the blood that may be associated with cancer at the time of a patient’s blood draw.
“Getting a cancer screening test before any symptoms are present through a simple blood draw can potentially save lives by detecting cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage,” says Gretchen Stipec, M.D., the radiologist leading the study at MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center. “This screening is especially beneficial for aggressive cancers that we currently do not screen for, like pancreatic and ovarian cancer, cancers often caught in more advanced stages when they are harder to treat.”
“Since this is a research study participants should remain diligent in their cancer screening efforts outside of the study,” added Stipec.
If eligible, participants will come in for their blood test. If the test results come back positive for cancer, the participant will be sent for a diagnostic workup to confirm the diagnosis. For example, if a marker shows a participant is positive for colon cancer, MemorialCare will work with participants and get them the care and tests they need, such as a colonoscopy, to confirm they have colon cancer and the treatments they might need. There will be no charge to the patients or their insurance for the diagnostic workup, but standard of care treatment for cancer will be billed to the participant’s insurance as usual. All participants will be followed by the study for three years.
“Tests can be costly and therefore unavailable to people with low income,” says Dr. Stipec. “If this study is successful, it can be up for consideration as a standard of care, making it more available to everyone.”
More data is needed before it can become part of standard cancer screenings. So far, the Galleri test has shown to be better at detecting certain cancers. For example, the test has higher success at detecting the presence or likelihood of cancer in the liver, pancreas, and ovaries.
The Galleri test is being studied and is not approved or cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is not meant to replace the cancer screening tests your healthcare provider may recommend, such as colonoscopy or mammography.
The PATHFINDER 2 Study is open to men and women 50 years or older, meet eligibility criteria and receive care at participating health systems. Participants in previous or ongoing GRAIL sponsored studies are not eligible to participate in the PATHFINDER 2 Study.