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The University of Oxford has announced a partnership with GRAIL, to evaluate the use of a new multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test in the NHS. The nation-wide SYMPLIFY study will investigate a MCED test developed by GRAIL, known as Galleri, for patients with non-specific symptoms that may be a result of cancer.
The aim of the SYMPLIFY study in Oxford is to demonstrate how the test could be used to increase cancer detection rates and simplify diagnostic pathways. Beginning in Summer 2021, SYMPLIFY seeks to recruit around 6,000 symptomatic patients from sites across England and Wales, who have been referred by their GP for testing of their blood samples with Galleri. Results of the Galleri tests will then be used for test validation purposes.
Galleri is a blood test that can detect over 50 types of cancers — over 47 of which lack recommended screening in the UK today — with a low false positive rate of less than 1 percent, all through a single blood draw. Using revolutionary next-generation sequencing technology, Galleri has the potential to complement existing screening programmes and current tests to enhance early stage diagnosis, when cancers can be treated more successfully.
Professor Mark Middleton, Lead researcher from the University of Oxford says: ‘The process of diagnosing cancer can often be lengthy and involve expensive imaging or invasive biopsies specific to only one cancer. Often this happens after a patient presents with symptoms and a cancer is more progressed. If we can intervene at an earlier stage and detect a cancer using minimally invasive tests, such as Galleri, we have the potential to accelerate cancer diagnoses and reduce the number of diagnostic procedures.
‘Ultimately these tests could transform cancer patient care within the next 5 years by improving the chance of successful treatment and survival.’
SYMPLIFY will assess how Galleri can be used to benefit patients with non-specific symptoms that may be a result of cancer. The SYMPLIFY study is one of the UK-based clinical trials that GRAIL is supporting, along with the recently announced NHS-Galleri trial, from which the collective results may see the MCED technology included in routine visits with healthcare providers, such as to a GPs and other non-hospital settings.