a better blood test | Mercy has announced plans to offer a first-of-its-kind multi-cancer early detection (MCED) blood test. Produced by GRAIL, the Galleri test detects early signs of more than 50 cancers by looking for a shared signal present in the bloodstream associated with many types of the disease. The MCED test is recommended for adults with an elevated risk for cancer, such as those age 50 or older. “Recommended cancer screenings in the U.S. currently cover only five types of cancer and can screen just one at a time,” says Dr. Jay Carlson, clinical chair of Mercy Research, gynecologic oncologist and head of Mercy’s cancer specialty council. “This innovative test has shown the ability to screen for hard-to-detect, aggressive and often deadly types of cancer, which often have no warning signs and are caught too late.”

a strong partnership
SSM Health has officially assumed ownership of SLUCare Physician Group of Saint Louis University. The two groups have partnered for decades to provide medical care at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital and most recently at Saint Louis University Hospital. Now, SLUCare’s more than 600 faculty, other academic medical professionals and staff will now become a dedicated academic physician division within SSM Health – St. Louis, while also collaborating with SSM Health Medical Group’s more than 600 community-based providers. The agreement also includes a significant investment in the Saint Louis University School of Medicine to expand clinical research, medical training and education across the region.

eyes and ears 
Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and Washington University Physicians have opened a new outpatient center at 450 N. New Ball Road in Creve Coeur. The nearly 40,000-square-foot facility includes eye, ear, nose and throat clinics and operating rooms. “The new outpatient center was created to provide the highest-quality care, with a focus on the experience of our patients,” says Dr. Greg Branham, chief medical officer at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and a Washington University facial plastic surgeon. “This is another example of how Barnes-Jewish West County and Washington University Physicians continue to advance care in our community and across our region.”

neurodegenerative research
The Tracy Family SILQ Center for Neurodegenerative Biology has opened at Washington University In St. Louis. It aims to accelerate research into biomarkers of neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis and tauopathies, a group that includes Alzheimer’s disease. Many of these conditions are characterized by the accumulation of toxic clumps of certain proteins in the brain. Researchers will attach a label to key proteins to track their production, identify factors that affect turnover and compare it to samples in other parts of the body. The work can lead to crucial insights into how each disease develops and lead to new diagnostics, prevention and treatment.