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NHS Launches Clinical Trial for Cancer Detecting Blood Test

The NHS has launched the world’s largest trial for a blood test that can detect 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.

NHS Launches Clinical Trial for Cancer Detecting Blood Test

The blood test, called Galleri, checks for the earliest signs of cancer in the blood. It works by examining DNA in a person’s blood to determine if any of it has come from cancer cells, with the results pointing to where in the body it has come from. GRAIL, the company behind the test,  states that research has shown the test is effective at finding cancers that are difficult to detect early, such as head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic and throat cancers.

Now, the NHS-Galleri trial will recruit up to 140,000 people across eight areas of England in an attempt to see how well the test works.

To begin the trial, the NHS will take blood samples at mobile testing clinics in retail parks and other community locations.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “This quick and simple blood test could mark the beginning of a revolution in cancer detection and treatment here and around the world.

“By finding cancer before signs and symptoms even appear, we have the best chance of treating it and we can give people the best possible chance of survival.

“The NHS has a successful track record of leading the way on innovations in cancer diagnosis and treatment, from CAR-T therapy to Covid-friendly drugs.

“The Galleri blood test, if successful, could play a major part in achieving our NHS Long Term Plan ambition to catch three quarters of cancers at an early stage, when they are easier to treat.

“So if you are invited, please take part – you could be helping us to revolutionise cancer care and protect yourself.”

Dame Cally Palmer, NHS national director for Cancer, said: “It is an absolute priority to speed up the earlier detection of cancer to improve survival, and this trial has the potential to do just that across a range of types of cancer. We are very grateful to all the people who will be taking part in this important initiative, which could help us save many more lives in the future.”

The NHS has already started inviting people aged between 50 and 77 to take part in the study. Participants will give a blood sample at a local mobile clinic and then will be invited back after 12 months, and again at two years to provide further samples.

Only people living within Cheshire and Merseyside, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, the North East, West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, Kent and Medway, and South East London, will be invited to take part.

Initial results of the study are expected by 2023 and, if successful, the NHS in England plans to extend the rollout to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.

Patients whose cancer is found early – known as stage one or two – typically have a broader range of treatment options available to them, which can be curative and are often less aggressive.

A patient whose cancer is diagnosed at the earliest stage typically has between five and 10 times the chance of surviving compared with those found at ‘stage four.’

Initial results of the study are expected by 2023 and, if successful, the NHS in England plans to extend the rollout to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The UK’s world leading scientists continue to pioneer innovative cancer diagnosis and treatments so our brilliant NHS staff have the tools to spot the disease as early as possible and give people the care they need.

“Early diagnosis can save lives and this revolutionary new test can detect cancers before symptoms even appear, giving people the best possible chance of beating the disease.

“Ensuring fewer people need treatment for advanced cancer is vital for patient care and another example of the NHS innovating to be more efficient – which will be crucial in bringing down the backlog.”

Sir Harpal Kumar, president of GRAIL Europe, said: “We’re delighted to partner with the NHS to support the NHS Long Term Plan for earlier cancer diagnosis, and we are eager to bring our technology to people in the UK as quickly as we can. The Galleri test can not only detect a wide range of cancer types but can also predict where the cancer is in the body with a high degree of accuracy. The test is particularly strong at detecting deadly cancers and has a very low rate of false positives.”

Stuart Devereux, a serving fire brigade officer, will be among the first participants in the NHS-Galleri trial in Runcorn. He said: “Being able to contribute to this study that could save many lives was a very easy decision to make, and it’s not going to take up much of my time. Working in the fire service, we save lives by preventing rather than fighting fires and in a similar way I’m keen to be involved in helping the NHS to trial new technology that can detect cancer before symptoms appear. We will only make progress in tackling cancer if people come forward for trials like this.”

Seen on European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer: Article Link

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