NHS to trial blood test that can detect over 50 cancer types

27 November 2020 (Last Updated November 27th, 2020 11:56)

The UK National Health Service (NHS) is set to initiate the trial of Galleri blood test that can potentially detect over 50 types of cancers.

NHS to trial blood test that can detect over 50 cancer types
The GRAIL pilot will involve 165,000 people. Credit: Belova59 from Pixabay.

The UK National Health Service (NHS) is set to initiate the trial of Galleri blood test that can potentially detect over 50 types of cancers.

Developed by GRAIL, the test is capable of detecting early-stage cancers through a simple blood test.

In research on patients with cancer signs, the test identified many types like head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophageal and some blood cancers, which are difficult to diagnose early.

The blood test checks for molecular changes.

NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: “Early detection – particularly for hard-to-treat conditions like ovarian and pancreatic cancer – has the potential to save many lives.

“This promising blood test could therefore be a game-changer in cancer care, helping thousands of more people to get successful treatment.”

Anticipated to start in the middle of next year, the GRAIL pilot will involve 165,000 people.

This participant population will include 140,000 people aged 50 to 79 years who have no symptoms but will have annual blood tests for three years.

Participants will be selected from the NHS records and approached to take part.

Those tested positive will be referred for investigation in the NHS.

Furthermore, another 25,000 people with possible cancer symptoms will be offered testing to fast-track their diagnosis after being referred to a hospital in the normal way.

The results of these studies should be available by 2023.

On obtaining positive outcomes, the study will expand around one million participants in 2024 and 2025.

GRAIL Europe president Harpal Kumar said: “Grail is thrilled to partner with the NHS and UK government to support the NHS Long Term Plan for earlier cancer diagnosis, and we are eager to bring our technology to patients in the UK as quickly as we can.”