The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) announced on Friday that trials of a revolutionary blood test developed by US company Grail to identify 50 types of cancer will begin in England in mid-2021.
According to the NHS statement, the new Galleri blood test, developed by GRAIL, gives a significant opportunity to detect early stage cancers through a simple blood test. It will be piloted with 165,000 patients in a world-first deal struck by NHS England.
The preliminary research found that the test, which checks for molecular changes in blood, can spot neck, ovarian, pancreatic, esophagus and other types of cancer that are difficult to diagnose in their early stages.
“If the NHS programme shows the test also works as expected for people without symptoms it will be rolled out to become routinely available,” NHS pointed.
Reacting to the announcement, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter that it was a “hugely promising breakthrough that could transform how we diagnose & treat cancer which still takes too many before their time.”
Hugely promising breakthrough that could transform how we diagnose & treat cancer which still takes too many before their time.
Another example of UK scientific leadership. Thank you to all our brilliant scientists and our NHS who helped make this happen. https://t.co/skJ61INj6m
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 27, 2020
The pilot will include 140,000 people aged 50 to 79 with no cancer symptoms and another 25,000 people with possible cancer symptoms to speed up their diagnosis, and the first results are expected by 2023.