This could be it. Mankind is likely on the cusp of gaining a stronger hand over cancer through a test that is simple and can help detect 50 types of cancers along with details of its organ of origin.
One fact about cancer is that it is treatable – provided – it is found early and can also turn terminal and painful if it metastasizes. Detection in time has been the silver bullet mankind has been searching for the king of maladies.
Cancer.net lists at list 120 types of cancer. Tests for most types of cancer are often expensive, invasive, not available at all medical facilities. It has been a prayer of mankind that some tests be formulated such that they overcome all these problems and obstacles and help early detection so as to enhance the chances of effective treatment and cure.
- Cancer is a scourge that creeps in silently, stealthily and before it is discovered, it has wreaked havoc inside a person’s body.
- Most cancer detection tests are done when symptoms are prominently seen.
- For a long time, mankind has awaited methods that are inexpensive, less invasive, less risky and can also detect cancer way before it has stolen the march.
Now, in the UK, the NHS doctors have (since Monday 13 September) begun using a “revolutionary” blood test to spot more than 50 cancers earlier. The Galleri process is particularly good at detecting hard-to-diagnose tumours including bowel and pancreatic cancers, reports Express.co.uk. 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 health service and healthcare company GRAIL, which developed the test technique.
The Galleri Process: The world’s largest clinical trial:
- About 140,000 people are joining the clinical trials
- The test is said to hunt down and highlight fragments of tumour DNA.
- It can even pinpoint the likely location of the disease.
- Hopefully will catch far more cases at an early stage of growth
- It has been found that treatment is more likely to be successful when begun early
Express.co.uk cites the Daily Express as a source that claims that NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard told them: “Today marks a really promising moment for the detection of cancer both here and around the world. The first patients will start to receive the revolutionary Galleri blood test which can, incredibly, detect cancer in the blood before symptoms even appear. There is good evidence that the test works, and the NHS is now getting to work putting it into place in a real-life setting, for the first time.
“Treatment can start more quickly, and we can get one step ahead of cancer.”
Cells jettison DNA fragments into the bloodstream, where the Galleri test can pick up abnormalities released by cancerous ones.
The good news is that it will help detect those types of cancers that are hard to diagnose early, including head, neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic and throat tumours.
This is not the first test of the Galleri method. An earlier study involving 4,000 people suggested Galleri identified when cancer was present in 51.5 per cent of cases, giving a false-positive result in only 0.5 per cent.
With solid tumours that are not screened for currently ‑ such as oesophageal and liver cancers ‑ the test was even more sensitive, detecting 66 per cent of cases.
It also showed accurately where tumours were in the body in 89 per cent of positive cases.
How will this test be carried out?
- Patients are being recruited from several areas of England.
- Literally, thousands of people between the ages of 50 to 77 will be contacted and invited to take part.
- It will be ensured that the total number of patients come from different backgrounds and ethnicities
- The condition is that they must not have had a cancer diagnosis in the last three years.
- They must attend a mobile clinic sited in retail parks and at other convenient locations.
- They must provide blood samples three times over the following two years.
How this test will help:
Cancer at Stage 1 or 2 has potential treatments that are less aggressive. Patients whose cancer has been detected at the earliest stage have a five to 10 times better chance of surviving compared with those who are diagnosed late at Stage 4.
Patients will find out they are in the test group if Galleri flags up possible cancer, in which case they will be sent to the hospital to undergo further checks. Initial results of the learning from and the efficacy of the method (as per these clinical trials) are expected by 2023. If they are successful, Galleri will be rolled out to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.
About the company GRAIL that is pioneering this trial:
GRAIL is covering the costs of testing for the trial. Sir Harpal Kumar, president of GRAIL Europe, said: “The Galleri test can not only detect a wide range of cancer types but can also predict where the cancer is in the body with a high degree of accuracy. “The test is particularly strong at detecting deadly cancers and has a very low rate of false positives.”
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