A pilot program could offer a blood test that can detect 50 types of cancer to “one million people” starting next summer, according to reports.
NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the Galleri test, developed by US company Grail, had the potential to “change cancer treatment forever”, according to The Times.
This test detects fragments of tumor DNA circulating in the blood. It can detect cancer beyond routine screening and pinpoint the source of the disease in the body with a high degree of accuracy.
The newspaper reported that Ms Pritchard said that if the interim results of the trial proved successful, an additional million people would be tested starting next summer.
It quotes her: “Our pioneering NHS Galleri trial, now in its second year, is the first step in testing a new way of identifying cancer before symptoms appear.
“If the interim results prove successful, we will roll out the test to an additional million people across the country starting next summer with the aim of diagnosing more patients with cancer at an earlier stage.”
A researcher involved in the NHS trial told a meeting of health service leaders in Manchester that blood tests could one day be carried out by people in their own homes, the newspaper reported.
The Galleri test is being tested on around 140,000 Britons aged 50 to 77.
Tests show promise in trials
Detecting cancer early is vital for people to receive timely treatment and has the potential to save thousands of lives in the UK every year.
A study led by the University of Oxford found that, Tests show promise in trials Thousands of NHS patients are involved.
Of the 6,238 people in England or Wales who took part in the trial, 6,238 had seen their GP with suspected symptoms, and the trial was able to detect signs of cancer in 323 of them – 244 of whom were subsequently diagnosed with cancer.
Most early-stage patients will be long-term survivors
The Beverly Hills 90210 star, reveals cancer has spread to her brain
Overall, the test correctly revealed cancer 66 percent of the time, the researchers found.
The test’s accuracy also depends on the stage of the cancer — from 24 percent in very early-stage (stage I) tumors to 95 percent in advanced disease (stage IV).
The Galleri test is currently available in the United States and is recommended for people at higher risk of cancer, including those over the age of 50.
It can also pinpoint the source of disease in the body with 85 percent accuracy.
The test does not detect all cancers and it is not thought to replace NHS screening programmes, such as those for breast, cervical and bowel cancer.