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NHS set to pilot GRAIL’s wide-ranging cancer blood test

Previous study indicates test can detect over 50 cancer types

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has signed a deal with healthcare company GRAIL to pilot its novel cancer blood test in 165,000 patients.

The Galleri blood test will be offered to 165,000 patients by NHS England in a new programme aimed at detecting early stage cancers.

The blood test identifies signs of a range of cancer types by searching for small fragments of DNA and RNA from tumours in the bloodstream to determine the presence of cancer.

The NHS will identify programme participants through patient records, with 140,000 participants aged 50 to 79 years who have no cancer symptoms set to be offered the test.

In addition, a further 25,000 people aged 40 years and above with possible cancer symptoms will also be offered testing to fast-track their diagnosis after being referred to the hospital setting.

“This exciting and groundbreaking new blood test from GRAIL will give us another tool to give more people the very best chance of survival, demonstrating how the UK continues to lead the way in using the latest innovative treatments to help patients,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

The pilot is due to begin in mid-2021, with results from the studies expect by 2023. If the outcomes are positive, the NHS will expand the programme to involve around one million people in 2024 and 2025.

“While the good news is that cancer survival is now at a record high, over a thousand people every day are newly diagnosed with cancer. Early detection – particularly for hard-to-treat conditions like ovarian and pancreatic cancer – has the potential to save many lives,” said Simon Stevens, chief executive of the NHS.

“This promising blood test could therefore be a game-changer in cancer care, helping thousands more people to get successful treatment. This trial again confirms that the NHS is at the forefront of cutting-edge treatments and technology,” he added.

In a earlier clinical validation study, a previous version of the Galleri test demonstrated that it could identify over 50 different types of cancer from just one blood sample. GRAIL is hoping to commercially launch the test in the US in 2021, with the test being currently available under investigational use in GRAIL’s PATHFINDER study.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

2nd December 2020

From: Healthcare

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