NHS sees an impressive number of local people volunteering for ground-breaking cancer test trial as mobile clinic arrives in Cambridge

Participants in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new blood test, Galleri TM, which can detect more than 50 types of cancer often before symptoms appear, have been arriving for their appointments at the Micro Focus Car Park, Cambridge Business Park, 2 Cowley Park, Cambridge CB4 0WZ.

Dr Linda Hunter, Clinical Lead for the East of England North Cancer Alliance said: 

“The response to the NHS-Galleri trial in Cambridge has been really positive. These people are contributing to a study that could prevent cancer deaths not just here but across the UK and around the world. If you have booked an appointment, make sure you attend – you could be helping us to revolutionise cancer care.”

The selected residents, who are all aged between 50-77 from Cambridge, have responded to invite letters sent out from the NHS.

The mobile clinic will be stationed in Cambridge until 15th January when it will move on to its next location at Tesco, Cedars Link Rd Stowmarket, where it will be based from 17th January to 3rd February.

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

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 volunteers nationally, including those who have now signed up in Cambridge, 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.