Treatment revolution? – А “Holy grail” blood test could be able to diagnose 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.
- A “Holy grail” blood test could detect 50 types of cancer before symptoms show.
- The examination has just begun NHS trials with 140,000 Britons.
- If proven to be successful, the test could save thousands of lives every year.
The Galleri test has just begun NHS trials with 140,000 Britons. Hailed a “Holy grail” blood test, it could be able to detect 50 types of cancer before symptoms show, as reported by Daily Mail.
The multi-cancer early detection test, as described by Galleri, is currently available in the U.S. Reportedly, it can identify cancers that are not routinely screened for and is highly reliable when it comes to locating where in the body the disease is coming from. Therefore, it has the potential to save thousands of lives every year.
There are cancer tumors that shed DNA into the blood long before a patient would start experiencing symptoms. This particular test is programmed to look for chemical changes in fragments of genetic code – cell-free DNA (cfDNA) – that leak from tumors into the bloodstream.
It’s important to note that the test does not detect all cancers. Moreover, it cannot replace NHS screening programs, such as those for breast, cervical, and bowel cancer.
In the U.S., the Galleri test has been recommended for people at higher risk of cancer.
During England’s NHS trial, blood samples will be taken at several mobile testing clinics across the country. Examiners plan to gather 140,000 volunteers from different backgrounds and ethnicities aged between 50 and 77.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard explained:
“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.”
The trial is supported by eight NHS Cancer Alliances.
It is being led by the Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit. They work alongside Grail, which developed the Galleri test.
If the test proves to be successful by 2023, when the first results from the trial are expected, it would be extended to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.
Those of the participants, whose results indicate the presence of cancer, will be contacted by the trial nurse and referred to an NHS hospital for further examination.
Here’s what experts say about the multi-cancer early detection test.
Professor Peter Sasieni, director of the Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit and one of the trial’s lead investigators, stated:
“We need to study the Galleri test carefully to find out whether it can significantly reduce the number of cancers diagnosed at a late stage.
The test could be a game-changer for early cancer detection and we are excited to be leading this important research. Cancer screening can find cancers earlier when they are more likely to be treated successfully, but not all types of screening work.”
Sir Harpal Kumar, president of Grail Europe, added:
“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.”
Furthermore, Health Secretary Sajid Javid claimed:
“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.”