LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s state-run National Health Service launches the world’s largest trial on Monday with Grail Inc’s flagship Gallery blood test, which can be used to detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.
The gallery test looks at the DNA in a patient’s blood to determine if someone is from cancer cells. Previous diagnosis of cancer leads to dramatically increased survival rates.
The NHS said it wanted to recruit 140,000 volunteers in the UK to see how well the test worked as part of a randomized control trial. Half of the participants get their blood sample screened with the Gallery test immediately.
“We need to study the Gallery test carefully to find out if it can significantly reduce the number of cancers diagnosed at a late stage,” said Peter Sasieni, a professor of cancer prevention at King’s College London.
“The test could be a game changer for early cancer detection, and we’re excited to lead this important research.”
Lung cancer is by far the most common cause of cancer death in the UK and accounts for around one-fifth of all cancer deaths. Lung, bowel, prostate and breast cancer make up 45% of the UK’s cancer deaths, the NHS said.
The American life sciences company Illumina Inc said last month that it had completed its $ 7.1 billion acquisition of Grail. Illumina said it will operate Grail separately from its existing business.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Mike Harrison)