NHS sees great response from locals coming forward for ground-breaking cancer test trial as mobile clinic arrives in Telford

18 February 2022

Participants in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new blood test, Galleri™, which can detect more than 50 types of cancer often before symptoms appear, are starting to arrive for their appointments at Telford from this week.

The response from local people has been so positive that all the immediately available appointments for the mobile clinic in Telford have been booked.

The selected residents, who are all aged between 50-77 from Telford, responded to letters recently sent from the NHS inviting them to participate in the NHS-Galleri trial.

The participants, who have not had a cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last three years, will have a blood sample taken at their first appointment. They will be invited back after 12 months, and again at two years, to give further blood samples.

Julie Garside, Director of Performance at Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The response to the NHS-Galleri trial in Telford has been fantastic. These people are contributing to a study that could prevent cancer deaths not just here but across the UK and around the world.”

The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test checks for the earliest signs of cancer in the blood.

The NHS Galleri trial, the first of its kind, will assess how well the test works in the NHS and whether the technology can be used as a tool to screen people with no cancer symptoms. The trial aims to recruit 140,000 participants nationally, including those who have now signed up in Telford, and the trial team will include people from different backgrounds and ethnicities to ensure results are relevant for as many different people as possible.

The NHS Galleri trial is a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) – meaning that half the participants will have their blood sample screened with the Galleri test right away and the other half will have their sample stored and may be tested in the future. This will allow scientists to compare the stage at which cancer is detected between the two groups. 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.

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 the NHS and healthcare company, GRAIL, which has developed the Galleri test. Any participants whose results indicate a possible cancer will be urgently followed up in the NHS.

Sir Harpal Kumar is President of GRAIL Europe, the company that has developed the Galleri™ test. He said: “We are eager to bring our technology to people in the UK as quickly as we can. We’re delighted to partner with the NHS to support the NHS Long Term Plan for earlier cancer diagnosis and grateful to thousands of members of the public coming forward to participate in the trial.”

Initial results of the study are expected by 2023 and, if successful, NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to extend the rollout to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.

The trial is the latest initiative launched by the NHS to meet its Long Term Plan commitment of finding three-quarters of cancers at an early stage by 2028.

Patients whose condition is diagnosed at ‘stage one’ typically have between five and 10 times the chance of surviving at least five years compared with those found at ‘stage four’.

Page last updated 18 February 2022