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News Article

Blood Test Promises Early Detection of Multiple Types of Cancer

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 09/13/2022 - 16:07

Around 50 types of cancer could be detected with blood test Galleri, which continues to be perfected, informed the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). Galleri is a blood test that tracks DNA and is capable of detecting cancer cells before patients show symptoms of the disease.

The test can additionally determine where the cancer signal has come from in the body as it arises from small sequences of circulating tumor DNA in the blood which has some different methylation patterns from non-tumor DNA, the ESMO explained. 

Another significant finding was for participants with false-positive screening test results, who are often submitted to invasive procedures, such as endoscopies and biopsies, that could cause unnecessary harm to those patients. 

For years, cancer has been a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths according to its latest data in 2020. Prior to COVID-19, cancer was the third cause of death in Mexico and it is still among the leading causes of death in Latin America. 

This burden continues to increase and at least for Mexico, the rate of deaths from malignant tumors has increased in the last decade, from 6.18 deaths per 10,000 people in 2010 to 7.17 per 10,000 in 2020.

Early detection efforts are crucial to reducing the enormous impact of cancer on global health, says the World Cancer Research Fund International (WCRFI). Nevertheless, the fund explains that preventing cancer is a significant public health challenge. Around 40 percent of cancer cases could be prevented by tackling risk factors relating to diet, nutrition and physical activity, according to WCRFI, but to do so, systems need to offer cancer-preventing vaccination and screening, treatment and pain relief and support to meet their psycho-social and resource needs. 

The Galleri test, while it is not offering to decrease the incidence of cancer, it is offering a significant chance to reduce cancer mortality. To determine its success in this regard, a number of further studies are now underway to investigate the clinical effectiveness of this testing on cancer outcomes and its effects on morbidity and mortality. 

Early diagnosis is not the only challenge to reduce the cancer burden, Isabela Rivas, Medical Value Lead Lung Cancer, Roche, recommends stresses that more efforts are required to enhance access to innovative medicine or clinical studies through healthcare institutions. “This is where Mexico falls behind. However, through more studies in Mexico, more innovations would enter the country,” Rivas says. She explains that once patients have access to the treatment, they must adhere to it for a positive outcome.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst