Pathfinder Study

Pathfinder study at OHSU

Help improve cancer early detection

You are invited to join the PATHFINDER study

Too often, cancer goes undetected until it is at an advanced stage. Thinking about the possibility of having cancer can feel overwhelming, but taking steps to catch cancer early can make you feel more in control of your health. The earlier that cancer can be found, the higher the chance of survival.

A blood test designed to detect multiple types of cancer

The PATHFINDER study will evaluate GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection test, an investigational test that has been designed to detect many types of cancer through one blood draw. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved this test for use outside of a research study. It is not meant to replace the cancer screening tests your healthcare provider may recommend, such as colonoscopy or mammography. 

The test looks for signals of cancer that may be present in a person’s blood. If a signal that may be cancer is detected, the test is designed to identify the location in the body the signal may be coming from, for example, the lungs or the colon. This information helps healthcare providers determine the appropriate tests to confirm whether cancer is present. GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection test does not measure your genetic risk of developing cancer in the future.

OHSU is one of five national study sites

The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is one of five sites across the country selected by GRAIL, Inc., a health care company dedicated to detecting cancer early, to join a study designed to improve early detection of cancer. The PATHFINDER Study is locally overseen by Tom Beer, M.D., deputy director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Who can participate?

Participation in the PATHFINDER study is voluntary and is currently open to men and women aged 50 years or older who meet eligibility criteria and receive care at OHSU or other participating health systems. As a participant of the study, you will receive your test results.

What does study participation involve?

Participants will be asked to:

  • Read and sign an informed consent form that fully explains the study
  • Provide their medical history and complete an initial questionnaire
  • Provide a blood sample (4 tubes) drawn by a trained practitioner
  • Complete additional questionnaires during the follow-up period

Visit the PATHFINDER study website for complete details.

Frequently asked questions during COVID-19

Yes, you can still enroll in the PATHFINDER study during shutdowns. While the stay-at-home order is in place, you can still set up an appointment for a blood draw in June and July, review and sign the consent form, and complete a phone survey. Once the shutdowns are lifted, we will resume blood draws.

Once the Oregon stay-at-home orders are lifted and OHSU deems it safe to resume the PATHFINDER trial, the study team will be working under modified operations to ensure participant and staff safety.

With guidance from the study team, participants will complete as many study activities remotely, as possible, before coming into the clinic. Well before their appointments, participants will be asked about their COVID-19 risk based on the CDC guidelines for high-risk individuals. These participants will be asked to reschedule their appointments to later in the month to ensure their safety.

Additionally, participants will be coming to the 12th floor of CHH2 that is otherwise vacant so there is no risk of contact with other clinic patients. This building is located on the waterfront campus of OHSU and is not connected to the main hospital. Further, no COVID-19 patients have been seen in the CHH2 building.

All chairs in the clinic waiting room will be at least 6 feet apart and there will be clearly marked areas where participants can stand to ask questions to the coordinator at the reception desk. Only a specific number of participants have been scheduled for a blood draw at during the same time slots to avoid crowding. This along with physical distancing requirements will ensure that participants are not in contact with each other.

Participants would only be in contact with staff for the duration of a blood draw (less than 10 minutes, on average).

During your appointment, all staff will be equipped with protective gloves and a lab coat for protective covering. Staff will also be wearing cloth face masks to reduce the spread of fluids from the mouth and nose. All participants will also be asked to wear a mask to their appointment.

Hand sanitizer will be provided and participants will be required to sanitize their hands prior to sitting in the waiting room and before the blood draw.  In addition, our team has devised a Plexiglas shield to be placed between the participant and the staff for extra distancing measures. The shield, the chairs and all surfaces will be wiped down after each participant.

Yes, you can rescheduled your appointment. At this time, the PATHFINDER study will be conducting blood draws until the end of July. If you do want to reschedule your appointment, please reach out to the study team as soon as possible at pathfinder@ohsu.edu.

This study is also completely voluntary. Therefore, if you no longer wish to participate, please reach out to the study team at pathfinder@ohsu.edu.

If the stay-at-home orders are not lifted or OHSU has not reopened for research by the date of your appointment, the study team will reach out to you to by phone or email to reschedule your appointment.

How to enroll in the PATHFINDER study

To find out if you are eligible to enroll or if you have questions, contact a study coordinator:

CAUTION: GRAIL’s multi-cancer early detection test is an investigational device. Limited by Federal law to investigational use.

Find out if you are eligible to enroll

Contact a study coordinator:

Please let us know if you prefer to be contacted by phone or email.