New blood test can spot up to 50 different types of cancers

In this Aug. 5, 2019 photo provided by Children’s Of Alabama, Dr. Gregory Friedman, a childhood cancer specialist, looks through a microscope at a laboratory in Birmingham, Ala. Friedman is leading a study to treat a deadly type of childhood cancer with a treatment that involves infusing viruses directly into the brain to spur an immune system response to the cancerous cells. (Denise McGill/Children’s Of Alabama via AP)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Cancer is expected to become the leading cause of death in the U.S. this year. But a new breakthrough blood test developed by the Mayo Clinic is reportedly able to spot more than 50 different types of cancer — early on.

Galleri, the new multi-cancer early detection test, was created by California-based health care company Grail, which is also in partnership with the Mayo Clinic. The test can detect the different types of cancer through a simple blood draw.

In the U.S, the currently recommended cancer screening tests can only cover five cancer types and screen for a single cancer at a time. In fact, there are no recommended early detection screening tests for other cancers, which account for 71% of cancer deaths, according to the Mayo Clinic. 

Right now, the test must be ordered by a health care provider. If the Galleri test is approved by the provider, they will schedule a blood draw. Insurance doesn’t cover it. The current cost of the test is $949. The results will be ready about two weeks after the blood draw.

The company says the test has the potential to transform cancer care by reducing cancer deaths and decreasing health care costs by detecting more cancers earlier. The company also claims the product has a low false-positive rate.

Dr. Minetta Liu, a Mayo Clinic oncologist who was involved in the development, said when a cancer signal is detected, the Galleri test can identify where in the body the cancer is located with high accuracy.

Grail is still working on full approval from the Food and Drug Administration but the test will be available in several Mayo Clinic locations this winter. 


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