Thousands of people in invited to help NHS trial new cancer test

Stoke-on-Trent has been selected to take part in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear. Selected residents aged 50-77 in Stoke-on-Trent have received a letter from the NHS inviting them to participate in the NHS-Galleri trial before the mobile clinic moves on to Birmingham in April. The response from local people has been so great that a number of the appointments for the mobile clinic have been booked already. Participants, who must not have had a cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last three years, will have a small blood sample taken at a mobile clinic at Sainsbury’s in London Road, Stoke between now and the first week in April. They will be invited back after 12 months, and again at two years, to give further blood samples. The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test checks for the earliest signs of cancer in the blood and the NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, aims to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally, with several thousand being invited from Stoke-on-Trent. The trial team have invited people from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities to ensure results are relevant for as many different people as possible. Dr Lorna Clarson, a GP and Chair of Stoke-on-Trent Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Most of us are now aware of the benefits of finding cancer earlier when it is easier to treat. By taking part in this trial people will be at the forefront of developing a test that has the potential to save lives from cancer in England and around the world.” The Cancer Alliance is helping to ensure that participants who test positive in this region get the necessary follow-up appointments. Sarah Hughes, Managing Director Cancer Alliances Midlands said: “We know from other trial locations that slots at the mobile clinics book up rapidly so, if you have been invited, please do register for the trial as soon as you can.” The test is a simple blood test that research has shown is particularly effective at finding cancers that are difficult to identify early – such as head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic, and throat cancers. It works by finding chemical changes in fragments of genetic code – cell-free DNA (cfDNA) – that leak from tumours into the bloodstream. The NHS-Galleri trial is being run by The Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit in partnership with NHS England and healthcare company, GRAIL, which has developed the Galleri test. All participants will be advised to continue with their standard NHS screening appointments and to still contact their GP if they notice any new or unusual symptoms.

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