What Is Guardant Health?

Updated May 31, 2019

This article was scientifically reviewed by YourDNA

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A list of references is also included at the bottom of this article.

Cancer affects millions of people each year, with close to 1.8 million expected to be diagnosed 1 with one form of the disease in 2019. It's a complex disease that presents differently in each patient when it comes to the type, symptoms and how aggressive it is.

What's in this Guide?

Disclaimer: Before You Read

It is important to know that your genes are not your destiny. There are various environmental and genetic factors working together to shape you. No matter your genetic makeup, maintain ideal blood pressure and glucose levels, avoid harmful alcohol intake, exercise regularly, get regular sleep. And for goodness sake, don't smoke.

Genetics is a quickly changing topic.

According to the National Cancer Institute and based on their data obtained between 2013 and 2015, over a third of men and women will, at some point during their lifetime, receive a diagnosis of cancer.

Liquid Biopsy and Its Important Role in Detecting and Treating Cancer - Quick Overview

While still in the clinical trial stages, liquid biopsy gives doctors a new approach 2 to conquering cancer.

When a surgeon performs a biopsy of the tumor — which in some cases is in difficult-to-reach locations — using a large needle or a surgical procedure, it can be a painful experience for a patient that comes with an extended period of recovery. Instead, doctors turn to a liquid biopsy, a noninvasive procedure that uses samples of bodily fluids — typically blood — to analyze bits of tumor material including molecules and whole cells.

What Is Guardant Health?

Guardant Health is a company that's looking to change the face of cancer treatment and even help detect the disease early enough so that treatment can help decrease the amount of deaths.

Since its inception in 2013, its founders are dedicated to the discovery and detection of cancer in the body as early as possible, through a simple blood test, an immense collection of data and advanced analytics. Once a patient receives a diagnosis, they also plan use the molecular information collected throughout all stages of the disease, to further study and present the best treatment options unique to each individual.

What Is the History of Guardant Health?

Guardant Health is a newly developed company with one goal: to prevent cancer from taking another life.

With a team of oncologists dedicated to their work and through extensive research and development, the company is currently working on a noninvasive way to detect cancer early, monitor it to prevent a recurrence and provide better treatment options for patients.

What Does Guardant Health Do?

Guardant Health is dedicated to the fight against cancer. They aim to discover cancer early and make the process for patients with the disease easier.

By collecting molecular information as the disease progresses they can develop solutions through blood test samples versus having a surgeon take a biopsy of the tumor. And, by using the blood tests, the results are available in less time, often in as little as a week.

Guardant Health is also currently working on advanced programs that can detect a recurrence in patients who previously had cancer and with pharmaceutical companies to bring forth new treatment options for patients. The benefits to patients with late-stage cancer can prove immense as it dispenses the need for intrusive procedures and repeat invasive testing that often results in stress on the body of a patient in failing health.

What Products and Services Does Guardant Health Offer?

Up until recently doctors had to rely on results obtained solely from a tissue biopsy in order to provide patients with the best treatment options.

However, performing a biopsy doesn't reveal the tumor's genomic profile 3, and therefore doctor's don't always have all the data needed to offer patient's the best cancer therapies for the type and stage of cancer.


Guardant360 gives primary care physicians access to comprehensive genomic data from a blood sample in as little as a week. The other plus is with the Guardant360 cost of approximately $6,800 per test kit, it's more affordable for patients.

This decrease in time and the benefit of an advanced approach helps them go beyond the previous limitations that resulted in a broad treatment of chemotherapy, radiation or a combination thereof.

Using this noninvasive procedure also eliminates the need for additional needle or surgical biopsies, which is especially beneficial to patients with a weakened immune system. Furthermore, the Guardant360 evaluation includes all 73 genes relevant to providing effective clinical care as recommended by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network for profiling.

And, receiving complete exons eliminates the possibility of missing uncommon or rare cancer mutations.

The test is given to patients in the advanced stages of cancer and once the test results are in, clinicians receive a copy of the report that presents actionable genomic alterations 4, as well as a list of treatments and clinical trials approved by the FDA. Guardant360 is used in advanced lung, ovarian, colorectal and breast cancers.

Guardant360 indications for use can include patients with inconclusive test results, unobtainable molecular analysis and patients who have advanced stage cancers where a tissue biopsy may not prove to be in their best interest due to their failing health. However, in some types — specifically pancreatic cancer — it's not developed sufficiently enough yet to provide comprehensive results to identify common mutations in the disease.

Guardant OMNI

Guardant OMNI provides biopharmaceutical customers with a comprehensive genomic tool for profiling that can help expedite clinical programs such as targeted therapy and immune-oncology. It gives companies who want to improve their chances of a drug's positive response to patients in clinical trials access to a 500-gene panel and a scope that is much larger than Guardant360.

It also has an equal performance incorporating nearly all of the genes evaluated in development pipelines and biomarkers for applications such as immuno-oncology.

Guardian OMNI better identifies patients with the right molecular profile to fit their clinical program, aids in monitoring a patient's response to the investigational drugs, and performs analysis on the stored plasma samples. Guardant Health is currently seeking FDA approval for the GuardantOMNI test partnered with AstraZeneca for immuno and targeted therapy compounds.


Today, patients with a predisposed higher risk for a recurrence of cancer often follow-up annually with their physician for testing to monitor for a recurrence of the disease. Guardant Health's LUNAR-1 program uses a collection of tens of thousands of previously collected blood samples to further study different types of cancers, growths and rare abnormalities to get a more comprehensive understanding of the disease and create breakthrough drugs.

The LUNAR-1 program will eventually offer clinicians a noninvasive test with accurate and definitive results designed specifically for residual disease and recurrence detection. While only available for research purposes at this time, it has its purpose.

It gives biopharma companies and researchers a way to develop new drugs for patients with breast, lung, ovarian and colorectal cancers.


Clinicians understand the best approach to fighting cancer is to discover the disease in the early development stage, which is possible through regular screenings. However, even when patients go through the testing, the results are in many cases inconclusive.

LUNAR-2 is a program that uses extensive research and development to provide accurate and affordable, noninvasive tests designed for use on patients with a higher risk of getting cancer. Using a comprehensive approach, with acquired data obtained from tens of thousands of previous cancer patients, Guardant Health will have the potential to develop tests specific to detect cancer in the earliest form.

While it's currently only available to biopharma and academic researchers for the sole purpose of research, the goal is to develop preventative measures and provide early treatments that ultimately extend lives and reduce the number of cases of patients that receive a diagnosis of cancer.

What is Guardant’s Proprietary Digital Sequencing Technology?

Previously, oncologists had to rely on results found from tissue biopsies, an often painful and invasive procedure requiring a surgeon to collect bits of the tumor from inside the body.

Today, through advancements in research, development and technology, doctors are able to obtain accurate information through a 360 blood test, eliminating the need for tissue biopsies. Proprietary Digital Sequencing Technology combines the resources of biochemistry, next generation sequencing and a machine-learning large bioinformatics pipeline, creating a solid platform that delivers the clinical levels needed to provide premium products effective in in the destruction of cancer.

What Process Does the Consumer Go Through?

After receiving an evaluation from a clinician of a suspected cancerous tumor, the patient now has additional options for testing.

Today, doctors can take a blood sample and send it out to a lab to get definitive results that either confirm or deny the presence of cancer. And, unlike a tissue biopsy, the results are available in approximately 7 days, helping to get patients treatment sooner.

In patients that already have or had cancer, the comprehensive testing gives doctors an in-depth analysis with very little margin of error. This makes it easy for the oncologist to determine and implement the best treatment options available.

It also gives the recipient tailored results that are specifically targeted to the type, growth and stage of cancer.

Conclusion and Bigger Picture

Guardant Health, a company focused on liquid biopsy and its capabilities 5, is currently working on noninvasive testing on the four common cancers including breast, lung, ovarian and colorectal.

Available today, Guardant360, the most advanced in its class among tumor genomic tests, is used daily testing by clinicians with cancer patients.
With the use of a single blood test, the company's goal is to detect ctDNA through sequencing cell-free DNA and finding mutations and epigenetics changes that occur in cancer cells.

Early detection is critical in people with a high risk of getting cancer at some point in their lifetime, in order to administer treatment therapies that ultimately save lives.

The research is new and far from over, and the ability to administer a blood test to every person before cancer is present is not yet feasible. However, the future looks bright.

With ongoing extensive research and development, analyzing all stages of the disease through molecular information obtained from blood samples, Guardant Health is optimistic that timely therapy for patients with cancer and new treatment options, as well as early detection of the disease, are all foreseeable in the future.

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Referenced Sources

  1. Cancer Facts and Figures.
    American Cancer Society.
  2. Liquid biopsy for cancer screening, patient stratification and monitoring.
    Graham Brock, Elena Castellanos-Rizaldos, Lan Hu, Christine Coticchia, Johan Skog.
  3. Physicians' Attitudes About Multiplex Tumor Genomic Testing.
    J Clin Oncol. 2014 May 1; 32(13): 1317–1323. Stacy W. Gray, Katherine Hicks-Courant, Angel Cronin, Barrett J. Rollins, and Jane C. Weeks.
  4. Use of the GUARDANT360 noninvasive tumor sequencing assay on 300 patients across colorectal, melanoma, lung, breast, and prostate cancers and its clinical utility.
    AmirAli Talasaz , Stefanie Mortimer , Dragan Sebisanovic , LaiMun Siew , Aubrey Zapanta , Gangwu MeiBen Schiller , Helmy Eltoukhy Guardant Health, Inc., Redwood City, CA.
  5. Liquid Biopsies: Past, Present, and Future