In a significant NHS trial, a blood test for more than 50 types of cancer showed great promise, according to researchers.
The test correctly identified two out of every three cancers among 5,000 patients who attended their general practitioner in England or Wales with suspicious symptoms. In 85% of these affirmative cases, the test also identified the cancer's origin.
The Galleri test searches for distinct changes in genetic code fragments that have leaked from various cancers. Early detection of treatable cancer can save lives. The Galleri test looks for specific mutations in snatches of genetic code that have been altered as a result of exposure to cancerous cells. A life can be saved with the early diagnosis of malignancies that can be treated.
Using conventional methods such as scans and biopsies, more than 350 participants in the study - the largest of its kind involving patients with suspected cancer symptoms - were subsequently diagnosed with cancer. 75% of those with a positive blood test result were diagnosed with cancer. 2.5% of those who tested negative for cancer were discovered to have it. Although the test was not accurate enough to rule in or rule out cancer, principal researcher Prof. Mark Middleton told sources that it was extremely beneficial for patients.
The test was 85% accurate in identifying the source of the cancer, which can be extremely useful because it is not always clear when a patient is in front of you what test is necessary to determine whether their symptoms are due to cancer, as he explained. With this test's prediction, we can decide whether to order a scope or a scan and administer the correct test the first time.
The findings will be revealed at the Chicago conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in The Lancet Oncology. The National Health Service (NHS) has also conducted research using the Galleri test, which was developed by the business Grail and based in California. The purpose of this research was to investigate whether or not the Galleri test can detect cancers even in the absence of any symptoms.
Initial results are anticipated this year, and if successful, the NHS in England intends to carry out the program to an additional million people in 2024 and 2025. The test is particularly effective at detecting cancers that are difficult to detect, such as cancers of the head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreas, and larynx.
Cancer Research UK's Dr. David Crosby stated that the study's findings imply this test could be used to assist GPs in making clinical assessments. It is necessary, however, to conduct a larger experiment in order to ascertain whether or not it could enhance GP evaluation and, ultimately, patient outcomes. According to Professor Peter Johnson, who is the national director for cancer at the NHS, this study is the first stage in testing a new technology that the NHS is pioneering in order to identify cancer as fast as feasible.
Earlier detection of cancer is essential and this test could help us detect more cancers at an earlier stage and save thousands of lives.