Innovating for healthier outcomes through early cancer detection test

Decades of research have shown the irrefutable benefits of early detection when it comes to cancer. The upside of early cancer detection is so much so that the World Health Organization promotes early detection screening programs, as these efforts have consistently helped to improve health outcomes.

Last February, Point32Health became the first health services company in the U.S. to work with GRAIL a health care company specializing in early cancer detection, on offering its Galleri multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test as a complement to recommended cancer screenings. Launched as a two-phase program, Point32Health first offered the Galleri test to Point32Health employees who met certain eligibility criteria, including age and family history of cancer.

Now entering the next phase, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, a Point32Health company, will work with GRAIL to offer the groundbreaking early cancer detection test that can be performed with a simple blood draw. The Galleri® test, is now available as part of a pilot program to a subset of Maine Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members insured under an individual plan at no cost to them. This benefit is especially critical for these members, as cancer is the leading cause of death in Maine, and cancer rates are significantly higher than the national average. The two organizations combined on an all-day blood draw event in South Portland, ME earlier this year, with all 240 available appointments being filled by eligible members.

The Galleri test is simple – member’s blood is drawn and tested for a cancer signal, which can be identified even before symptoms appear. If a cancer signal is found, results are shared with the ordering health care provider who can guide next steps, which may include additional diagnostic tests. The Galleri test can even point to where in the body the cancer may be located, better informing the health team on follow-up testing to determine if a cancer is present.

“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, MSHS, president at GRAIL. “We are delighted to expand our pilot with Point32Health, the first commercial health plan in the U.S. to offer Galleri.”

To be eligible, Maine Harvard Pilgrim HMO members must reside in the United States, have obtained their Harvard Pilgrim Health Care plan from either or directly from Harvard Pilgrim, be age 50 years or older, not pregnant and not currently undergoing active cancer treatment. In addition, they must also meet at least one additional clinical criterion related to family or personal history of cancer, smoking history or BMI.

 In addition to launching the pilot screening program, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care also provided a matching grant to the Maine Cancer Foundation to launch the Maine Cancer Blueprint to help better understand the current state of cancer in Maine. Through these initiatives, Point32Health and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care aim to support Maine, and in the future, additional communities that we serve, in pursuit of better health and reduced disparities in cancer treatment and prevention.