Medical experts may have developed a blood test that can detect 50 types of cancer
LONDON, England - Medical experts in the United Kingdom have developed a new blood test that may detect more than 50 types of cancer, CNN reports.
The UK's National Health Service (NHS), the organization that's leading research efforts into the blood test, hopes the new tests will eventually help thousands of patients by allowing the disease to be treated more successfully at an earlier stage.
The Galleri blood test, developed by Californian healthcare company Grail, will be piloted with 165,000 patients beginning mid-2021. Participants, including a total of 140,000 patients between the ages of 50 to 79 who have no symptoms, will submit to blood tests throughout a three year period.
CNN says that the other 25,000 participants will be comprised of patients with possible cancer symptoms who will be offered the blood test to speed up their diagnosis after they are referred to a hospital for treatment.
Results are expected by 2023, after which it is hoped one million people could receive the test by 2025, expanding this to the wider population thereafter, NHS England said.
Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK's chief executive, said tests like those developed by Grail have "great transformative potential" if they prove effective in detecting cancer earlier.
Dr. Jodie Moffat, head of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, said results so far from studies outside the UK appear to be promising. "But the sample sizes, particularly for some cancer types, have been very small and so it needs to be tested in a much larger sample, and with longer follow up of patients not testing positive with the blood test to understand where it is missing cancers," she told the Science Media Centre.
"Based on the evidence we have seen, the test is not currently that good at picking up stage I cancer, where it is small and hasn't spread to other parts of the body."
Grail is backed by a number of high-profile investors including tech billionaire Bill Gates and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
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