NHS England is to launch the world’s largest trial of a blood test that aims to detect more than 50 types of cancer. More than 100,000 volunteers are being sought to provide information on the potential usage of the test method within NHS services. The volunteers are to provide blood samples at mobile test clinics in regions across England.
The test is called the ‘Galleri test’, and its method is to pick up fragments of DNA that are shed by tumours into the bloodstream, including from cancers of the lung, bowel, pancreas, throat and neck. The push to include such a test would work in line with efforts to increase early diagnoses of diseases and conditions among the UK population.
Trial volunteers will be aged from 50 to 77 years old, from various ethnic minorities. They must not have had a cancer diagnosis in the last three years and “will be asked to give a first blood sample at a mobile test clinic, and further samples one and two years later”. According to the Guardian, “if the first results, expected by 2023, are successful, the NHS aims to open the trial to a million more people in 2024 and 2025”.
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”.