City of Hope and DELFI Diagnostics announce collaboration to improve lung cancer screening rates in underserved areas of Los Angeles

  • City of Hope®to launch an investigator-led study funded by a grant from the American Cancer Society to improve screening among     patients, including a Federally Qualified Health Center
  • FirstLook Lung is the first liquid biopsy test available in the U.S. that has high sensitivity for early lung cancer detection 


City of Hope:
Letisia Marquez

DELFI Diagnostics:
Jen Bruursema


LOS ANGELES, PALO ALTO, Calif., and BALTIMORE — City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States, and DELFI Diagnostics Inc., a developer of accessible blood-based tests that deliver a new way to enhance cancer detection, today announced a collaboration to utilize DELFI’s FirstLook Lung, a blood-based lung cancer screening test, in a City of Hope clinical study to help improve screening rates in underserved communities in Los Angeles County. The test will be offered free of charge to eligible trial participants. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths domestically and globally, yet only 6% of eligible individuals in the U.S. get screened and, in California, this statistic drops to 0.7%.

Funded by a Discovery Boost grant from the American Cancer Society, awarded to Dan Raz, M.D., M.A.S., co-director of City of Hope’s Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program and the trial’s principal investigator, the study that will evaluate use of the FirstLook Lung test to improve lung cancer screening rates in disadvantaged communities in the Los Angeles area. DELFI will make its liquid biopsy screening test, which will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, available at various study locations, including City of Hope | Antelope Valley, a City of Hope mobile screening unit in the near future, and ParkTree Community Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Nearly 1 in 10 Americans rely on FQHCs for their care.

“Our City of Hope team is grateful to the American Cancer Society for its commitment to addressing cancer screening disparities and for their support of our community-based study that is so desperately needed in these areas,” said Raz, who is also an associate professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at City of Hope. “We hope that by offering a high-sensitivity lung cancer blood test, we can catch more lung cancer early. If lung cancer is caught early, there is a higher chance of it being treated effectively.

“We have known for more than a decade that lung cancer screening saves lives. We now want to find practical approaches that will deliver that benefit to all who are eligible,” he added. Prior research has demonstrated that providing more screening options improves overall screening rates, and the study aims to determine if some patients say they prefer a screening blood test as a way of being evaluated.  

FirstLook Lung works by evaluating patterns of DNA fragments in the blood that reveal the presence of lung cancer. In an independent validation, FirstLook Lung was shown to have screening population sensitivity of 80%, including detection of the earliest stages of the disease. The test relies on a low-cost approach to DNA analysis, which will enable the company to make it broadly available at an affordable cost. It also produces clinically meaningful results. When the test result is negative (“Not Elevated”), the chance lung cancer will be found by low-dose CT scan is less than 0.2%.

“City of Hope is making a positive impact in reaching communities who are often left behind by the U.S. health care system, aligning with our mission at DELFI,” said Peter B. Bach, M.D., DELFI’s chief medical officer. “We are immensely proud that FirstLook Lung, our high- sensitivity blood test, which we developed and validated specifically for individuals eligible for lung cancer screening, will be able to play a part in this potentially practice-changing work.”

The American Cancer Society’s Discovery Boost Grants support high-risk, high-reward exploratory cancer research across the research continuum. Investigators may focus on developing research methodologies, establishing feasibility or leading pilot tests in new and highly innovative areas for investigation.

“Currently there are millions of people in this country who are eligible for lung cancer screening according to the guidelines of the American Cancer Society, but who are not accessing the recommended annual CT scan,” said Christina Annunziata, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president, extramural discovery science at the American Cancer Society. “We are excited to have funded the early work in this project which will test this alternative screening method that may be more accessible and therefore has the potential to reach more people.”

City of Hope (Booth No. 1605) and DELFI Diagnostics (Booth No. 947) will be exhibiting at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR 2024) Conference in San Diego from April 7 to 10 and are available for interviews about this new collaboration.

About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the No. 1 cause of cancer death globally and in the United States, where it accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths – just as many deaths as the other four cancers for which screening is recommended combined (colon, prostate, breast and cervical cancer). Screening rates for those other cancers are in the 60-70% range, but lung cancer screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans is received by only approximately 6% of screen-eligible adults in the U.S. annually. This means that 14.1 million Americans who should be getting screened every year for lung cancer are not doing so. According to the 2021 USPSTF lung cancer screening guidelines, individuals eligible for screening include those 50 to 80 years of age, and who currently smoke or have quit within the last 15 years and have a 20-pack year or more smoking history. Detecting cancer early can improve outcomes. The low rate of lung screening is an important reason why the disease's five-year survival rate in the U.S. is only 23%.

About City of Hope
City of Hope's mission is to make hope a reality for all touched by cancer and diabetes. Founded in 1913, City of Hope has grown into one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S. and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. City of Hope research has been the basis for numerous breakthrough cancer medicines, as well as human synthetic insulin and monoclonal antibodies. With an independent, National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center at its core, City of Hope brings a uniquely integrated model to patients spanning cancer care, research and development, academics and training, and innovation initiatives. City of Hope’s growing national system includes its Los Angeles campus, a network of clinical care locations across Southern California, a new cancer center in Orange County, California, and treatment centers and outpatient facilities in the Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix areas. City of Hope’s affiliated group of organizations includes Translational Genomics Research Institute and AccessHopeTM. For more information about City of Hope, follow us on Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About DELFI Diagnostics
DELFI Diagnostics is developing next-generation, blood-based tests that are accurate, accessible and deliver a new way to help detect cancer. DELFI tests are built to solve the highest-burden population health issues, including in historically underserved demographics, and have the potential to save lives on a global scale. FirstLook Lung, for individuals eligible for lung cancer screening, is our first laboratory-developed screening test and requires a simple blood draw that can be incorporated with routine blood work. The test is based on fragmentomics, the discovery that cancer cells are more chaotic than normal cells and, when they die, leave behind tell-tale patterns and characteristics of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) fragments in the blood. The DELFI platform applies advanced machine-learning technology to whole-genome sequencing data to assess an individual's cfDNA fragments against populations with and without cancer. FirstLook Lung uses these millions of data points to reliably identify individuals who may have cancer detected through low-dose CT, including early-stage disease, with a negative predictive value of 99.8%. This test has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. To learn more about the FirstLook Lung test, visit or