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Phoenix company developing test for early lung cancer detection

PHOENIX -- Doctors may soon be able to prescribe a blood test that could give lung cancer patients some new hope.

Phoenix-based Global Cancer Diagnostics is in the final testing stage of a new blood test that it says will give the patients a fighting chance.

"We analyze the blood for certain protein biomarkers that are known to be related to cancer and, specifically, lung cancer," said company CEO Will Gartner. "Those circulate in the blood much earlier than x-rays can detect a growing nodule of cancer."

It's called the Lung Cancer Test for Early Detection and will cost patients $99. Gartner said the company is holding costs down by not accepting insurance as payment. He said that would require much more paperwork.

Gartner believes the test will catch lung cancer in its first two stages, which will save lives.

"The survival rates are between 10 and 20 percent in five years if you are diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 lung cancer," he explained.

Gartner said the survival rate is over 80 percent if the cancer is caught in the first or second stages.

Patients in 26 states will be able to buy the test over the Internet. An insulated box will then be mailed to them, in which they can ship their blood to Phoenix for testing.

Arizona is not one of those 26 states, however. Here, a patient will need a doctor's prescription to get the test.

Gartner said the test should be available for sale in about eight weeks.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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