A new type of blood test could help detect more than 50 types of cancer after the UK National Health Service (NHS) trial.
The test is called Galleri, and it was able to detect two out of three cases of cancer among 5,000 participants who visited their doctor in England and Wales with symptoms.
The test also detected the sites where the cancer originated in 85% of positive cases.
Galleri consists of a test that looks for the presence of cancer in fragments of the genetic code, aiding in early detection.
However, the Oxford University researchers who conducted the trial also stated that the test is still in progress.
Scientists also noted that the test could increase the number of cancers that can be detected in patients.
Galleri the largest study of its kind
At least 350 people who participated in the study were later diagnosed with cancer using the usual methods, such as scans or biopsies.
It was also found that:
- 2.5% of patients who tested negative had cancer
- 75% of the patients who tested positive in the blood test had cancer.
However, the researcher in charge of the trial, Mark Middleton, told the BBC that the Galleri test is still not sufficiently accurate.
“The test was 85% accurate in detecting the site where the cancer originated. And that can be really useful because it’s often not immediately obvious when you have a patient in front of you what tests are needed to determine whether their symptoms are due to cancer,” he added.
“With that test prediction, we can decide whether to do an endoscopy exam or a scan and make sure we do the right test the first time.”
The test results will be presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago; they will also be published in The Lancet Oncology.
More research needed
Researchers have used the Galleri test to detect hidden cancers in asymptomatic individuals.
The initial results are expected to be presented in 2023, and if the diagnoses are positive, researchers will test one million people between 2024 and 2025.
According to the test data, Galleri is good at identifying cancers that are difficult to detect, such as throat, bowel, lung, pancreatic, head, and neck cancers.
On the other hand, Dr. David Crosby of Cancer Research UK commented that the study’s findings will help improve clinical assessments, although more research is needed.
“The study findings suggest that this test could be used to help GPs make clinical assessments, but much more research is needed in a larger trial to see if it could improve medical diagnoses and ultimately outcomes for patients.”
While NHS National Director, Professor Peter Johnson, commented that “this study is the first step in testing a new way of identifying cancer as early as possible.”
Johnson also added that “early detection of cancer is vital, and this test could help detect more cancers at an earlier stage and help us save thousands of lives”.
With information from the BBC