Female nurse collects blood from senior patient for testing at hospital
Credit: Yoshiyoshi Hirokawa/Gatty Images

In an expansion of a pilot program launched earlier this year that offered Grail’s Galleri multi-cancer early detection blood test to its own employees, Point32Health, the parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care announced it will offer the same service to Harvard Pilgrim members who have purchased insurance on the Maine Health Insurance Marketplace. This second phase of the pilot study is intended to collect real-world evidence to assess the effect of deploying the Galleri test on healthcare resources and patient-reported outcomes.

According to Cain A. Hayes, president and CEO at Point32Health, the expansion of the pilot brings a “game-changing screening tool to a subset of our members in Maine. This test has the potential to change the lives of countless people and their families impacted by cancer.”

Deployment of the test could have significant impact on the health of Mainers, where cancer is the leading cause of death and residents will develop cancer at a rate significantly higher than the national average, according to statistics from the Maine Cancer Foundation. Harvard Pilgrim is active in the state, having also provided a matching grant to the Maine Cancer Foundation to research the state of cancer in Maine.

“We know that cancer has a critical impact in Maine, with one in three Mainers facing a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime,” said Bill Whitmore, vice president for the Maine market at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. “This pilot will help facilitate early detection when treatment can be more effective and there is the potential for a cure.”

Under the program, Harvard Pilgrim HMO members who have purchased insurance via the insurance marketplace in Maine can participate in the pilot and will be sent information on how they can receive a Galleri test. According to information provided by Grail, the blood-based Galleri test can provide the early detection of as many as 50 different cancer types via a shared cancer signal. Of the 50 cancers detected, 45 do not have recommended screening tests and the test showed a low false positive rate of less than one percent.

When it returns a positive result Galleri can also provide information of the cancer signal of origin and where the cancer is located in the body to help guide the next steps for diagnosis. The test is only available to patients via a prescription from a doctor and should not be used in place of already accepted standard-of-care cancer screening tests.

“Multi-cancer early detection tests, like Galleri, are the future because of their ability to find more cancers earlier, before symptoms appear, with a single blood test,” said Josh Ofman, MD, president at Grail. “We believe offering Galleri can help increase early cancer detection in Maine, where cancer rates are significantly higher than the national average.”

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