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Southampton researchers trial new cancer early detection blood test

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Researchers in Southampton are investigating a new early detection test for cancer, following the opening of a new trial.

The SYMPLIFY study, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and launching at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), aims to demonstrate how a new multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test, known as Galleri, could be used to increase cancer detection rates and improve diagnostic pathways.

Detecting cancer earlier

Galleri is a blood test developed by healthcare company GRAIL that can detect over 50 different types of cancers with a low false positive rate of less than one percent. Over 47 of these cancer types lack recommended screening in the UK today.

Using revolutionary next-generation sequencing technology, Galleri has the potential to identify multiple types of cancers at earlier stages of disease compared with traditional diagnostic methods, which should increase the chance of successful treatment and improve outcomes for patients.

The study will recruit patients with early signs and symptoms that may be a result of cancer. Patients taking part in the study will have their diagnostic tests in the normal way, but they will also have a Galleri blood sample taken and give permission for their health records to be checked to see if they were later diagnosed with cancer.

Transforming cancer diagnosis

The SYMPLIFY study is one of the UK-based clinical trials that GRAIL is supporting, alongside the recently announced NHS-Galleri trial, which is evaluating the Galleri test in primary care settings. Successful results may see this technology radically revolutionising how cancer is identified in the future.

The study, sponsored by the University of Oxford and funded by GRAIL, hopes to have recruited around 6,000 participants by the end of October 2021. Other local sites include Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Dorchester, the Isle of Wight, Poole and Winchester.

Mr Zaed Hamady, Consultant General Surgeon at UHS and local lead for the trial, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer patients in Southampton the opportunity to take part in this landmark trial, which could help transform the way that some cancers are diagnosed in the future. By diagnosing cancers earlier, we hope to improve outcomes for people affected by cancer and ultimately save lives.”


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