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New multi-cancer early detection blood test study opens

Published: 16 September 2021

The NIHR is supporting a new nation-wide research study that will investigate a novel multi-cancer early detection test, known as Galleri, in the NHS, for patients with non-specific symptoms that may be a result of cancer.

The aim of the SYMPLIFY study is to demonstrate how the Galleri test could be used to increase cancer detection rates and improve diagnostic pathways. Recruitment of participants started in summer 2021, with the research team seeking to recruit around 6,000 patients with early signs and symptoms suspicious for cancer from sites across England and Wales by 29 October 2021. These patients will have been referred by their GP for rapid diagnostic tests looking for cancer and a Galleri blood sample will also be taken.

Galleri is a blood test that can detect over 50 different types of cancers with a low false positive rate of less than 1 percent. Over 47 of these cancer types lack recommended screening in the UK today. Using revolutionary next-generation sequencing technology, Galleri has the potential to identify multiple types of cancers at earlier stages of disease compared with traditional diagnostic methods, which should increase the chance of successful treatment and improve outcomes for patients.

SYMPLIFY will assess how Galleri, developed by healthcare company GRAIL, 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 evaluating the Galleri test in primary care settings. Successful results may see this technology radically revolutionising how cancer is identified in the future.

Dr Pippa Corrie, NIHR Clinical Research Network, National Specialty Lead for Cancer Late Phase and International Trials, said: “We are delighted that the NIHR Clinical Research Network is actively facilitating delivery of the ground-breaking SYMPLIFY study, which is testing an innovative blood test to identify early signs of cancer, by recruiting 6,000 participants attending rapid diagnostic clinics at multiple secondary care trusts across England in record time.”



This activity has been undertaken as part of the plan for the Future of UK Clinical Research Delivery - creating a patient-centred, pro-innovation and data-enabled clinical research environment, which empowers everyone across the health service to participate in delivering research and enables people across the country to take part in research. This work is part of the action area "Building upon digital platforms to deliver clinical research". 

The vision is being implemented by the UK-wide Clinical Research Recovery Resilience and Growth (RRG) programme, which brings together partners from across the NHS, government, research organisations, academia, regulators, medical research charities, industry, patients and the public. 

Please visit the website for more information on the implementation plan for the year 2021-22.


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