NEW YORK – Grail has entered into a research collaboration with nonprofits the Whitman-Walker Institute and Cancer Support Community (CSC) to advance health equity in cancer screening through the use of multi-cancer early detection (MCED) testing in diverse patient populations, the partners said on Wednesday.
The collaborative study, called INCLUDE (implementation and navigation of cancer liquid biopsy to understand diverse patient experiences), will conduct community outreach to build awareness of and increase early cancer screening, focusing on groups that have been historically underrepresented in clinical care and research.
Eligible individuals will be invited by Whitman-Walker, which focuses on LGBTQ health, research, education, and policy, to participate in the study being conducted in collaboration with CSC, a global nonprofit that aims to ease cancer burdens and barriers through community support, education, and advocacy.
The partners will then assess the feasibility of using Grail's Galleri MCED test in a real-world setting in diverse patient populations, including groups that bear a higher burden of cancer-related health disparities, such as racial and ethnic minorities and members of the LGBTQ community.
Grail will provide an unspecified amount of support for the collaboration. Participants who receive a Galleri test with a positive result will be offered professionally led support and navigation services by the CSC.
Grail's test involves sequencing cell-free DNA extracted from a blood sample and analyzing it for cancer-associated methylation patterns. It is designed to detect more than 50 cancer types and localize them to specific tissues or organs.
"We are excited about the opportunity to offer our communities access to MCED testing before it is widely covered by public and private insurers," Jonathon Rendina, senior director of research at Whitman-Walker Institute and principal investigator on the study, said in a statement. "This pivotal study will promote access to the latest technology and enhance our understanding of the barriers we face to implementing these screenings within community healthcare settings."
Sally Werner, chief experience officer at the CSC and deputy co-chair of the MCED Consortium, added in a statement that "we believe MCED has the potential to transform cancer detection as we know it for people who are at higher risk for developing cancer. We are thrilled to collaborate with Grail and Whitman-Walker to assess best practices around incorporating MCED in community-based healthcare settings and identify barriers that prevent underserved and under-resourced populations from getting screened."
Jeffrey Venstrom, Grail's chief medical officer, said in a statement that the partnership is "part of broader efforts to further evaluate the implementation of Galleri in diverse and underserved communities to reduce cancer burden and pursue greater health equity."