Multi-Cancer Early Detection Technologies: When and How Should They Be Integrated into Health Care?
Developed to give physicians an easy way to screen for multiple types of cancer at once, blood-based multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests are among the most promising tools shaping thinking about the future of personalized medicine today.
Most MCED tests rely on telltale proteins or circulating DNA fragments shed by cancerous cells to screen seemingly healthy patients for any type of cancer, many of which would not be detected by existing screening methods. If the clinical implementation of MCED tests helps physicians and patients get further ahead of the second-leading cause of death in the United States, the tests could go a long way toward demonstrating that research on the molecular underpinnings of disease is delivering benefits for patients and health systems.
It will take years of research to establish the best practices for diagnosing and treating cancers in asymptomatic patients with positive MCED testing results and to evaluate whether the broad-based clinical implementation of MCED testing is a more cost-effective approach to improving cancer care than focusing exclusively on the diagnosis and treatment of symptomatic patients.
But studies of symptomatic patients point to the importance of early diagnoses. When cancer care is delayed or inaccessible, the World Health Organization notes that there is “a lower chance of survival, greater problems associated with treatment, and higher costs of care.”
This begs the question that is at the crux of PMC’s planned conversation on MCED testing at this year’s Annual Personalized Medicine Conference: How long can physicians and health systems afford to wait before offering MCED tests to patients whose lives might depend on early diagnoses?
Moderated by PMC Board Chairman and prominent oncologist Lincoln Nadauld, M.D., Ph.D., this panel discussion will convene researchers and industry leaders who are studying the clinical and economic benefits of MCED testing to discuss when and how MCED tests might be integrated into the practice of health care, now and in the future.