Blood Test That Detects Cancer Before Symptoms Appear Begins Trial
A blood test capable of detecting 50 types of cancer before patients even begin experiencing symptoms is being rolled out by the NHS in a major trial starting today, September 13.
The test, which has been heralded as a potential ‘gamechanger’ in the fight against the disease, has been shown in previous trials to be able to not only detect cancers that are not routinely screened for, but can also determine where in the body a cancer originated.
The NHS trial of the tool, known as the Galleri test, is the largest in the world, with more than 140,000 Brits aged between 50-77 set to be invited to give blood samples at locations throughout the country.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the test could help save thousands of lives in the UK through early intervention.
‘This quick and simple blood test could mark the beginning of a revolution in cancer detection and treatment here and around the world,’ she said. ‘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 test works by detecting fragments of genetic code known as cell-free DNA (cfDNA), which make their way into the bloodstream by leaking from cancerous tumours, LBC reports.
It’s thought the test, which is already recommended for over 50s in the US, can identify the presence of cancers that are otherwise difficult to detect at an early stage, including head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic, and throat cancers.
The test, which is being run by Cancer Research UK and the King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit, is set to run for two years. Half those in the trial will have their blood sample screened straight away, using the new Galleri test, while the other half with have their samples stored and tested later, allowing researchers to compare the stages at which cancer is detected in the two groups.
The first results from the trial are expected in 2023.
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