Point32Health, the parent company of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, and GRAIL, a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer earlier, announced the expansion of their pilot to offer GRAIL’s Galleri multi-cancer early detection screening test. 

The pilot includes members meeting eligibility requirements whose primary care provider (PCP) is a Mass General Brigham affiliated provider and who are covered under a Harvard Pilgrim Health Care or Tufts Health Plan employer-sponsored plan or a Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Massachusetts Connector plan.

“At Point32Health, we are proud to offer cutting-edge, innovative solutions that focus on improving the health and wellness of our members and the communities we serve,” says Cain A. Hayes, president and CEO at Point32Health. “We are excited to expand our pilot to include Mass General Brigham by offering members this early detection screening test that could potentially save countless lives.”

Point32Health is the first commercial health plan in the U.S. to work with GRAIL to offer its Galleri screening test in addition to recommended cancer screenings, according to the companies The initial pilot program enabled access to Galleri at no cost for eligible Point32Health employees and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members who purchase their insurance on the Maine health insurance marketplace. The expansion of the pilot will now enable access for Point32Health’s Commercial Tufts Health Plan or Harvard Pilgrim Health Care members who meet eligibility requirements for the test and whose primary care provider is a Mass General Brigham affiliated provider. As part of this pilot, Mass General Cancer Center’s Early Detection and Diagnostics Clinic will assess eligible participants for cancer risk and have the test available for those members at no cost.

Further reading: New Method for Early Cancer Detection is Based on Metabolism

“Early detection and diagnosis of cancer can save lives,” says Lecia V. Sequist, MD, MPH, Landry Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Program Director of the Cancer Early Detection and Diagnostics Clinic at Mass General Cancer Center. “Our clinic assists patients and their referring providers who are concerned they have cancer or are at increased risk of developing it. Advances in personalized screenings and risk assessments are critical to helping us catch cancer earlier and enabling us to begin treatment sooner.”

In a clinical study, the Galleri test demonstrated the ability to detect a shared cancer signal across more than 50 types of cancer, over 45 of which lack recommended screening tests today, with a low false positive rate of less than 1 percent. When cancer is detected, Galleri can predict the cancer signal origin with high accuracy.

“A new, population-scale approach for screening people for cancers before symptoms appear may result in finding many more cancers in earlier stages, when outcomes are more likely to be favorable. Dramatically increasing the number of cancers detected by screening holds the potential to reduce the impacts of late stage cancer,” says Josh Ofman, MD, MSHS, president at GRAIL. “We applaud Point32Health and its forward-thinking approach to multi-cancer early detection. We are excited to expand the pilot and increase access to Galleri to the Mass General Brigham network, which shares a commitment to bridging the gap between clinical care and research in cancer screening and detection.”

More than 609,000 people die from cancer each year in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. This is in large part because some of the deadliest cancers are found too late when outcomes are often poorer. Recommended screening tests save lives, but only cover five cancer types in the U.S.: breast, colon, cervical, prostate, and, in high-risk adults, lung. In fact, about 71 percent of cancer deaths are from cancers that lack recommended early detection screening.