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Multi-Cancer Blood Test Shows Real Promise

Multi-Cancer Blood Test Shows Real Promise
Researchers from Oxford University revealed that a multi-cancer blood test has showed real promise in a Major NHS trial using the Galleri test. Credit: biologycorner / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

A recent study conducted by researchers from Oxford University has revealed promising results for a blood test that can detect over 50 types of cancer.

The test, known as the Galleri test, has shown an accuracy in identifying two-thirds of cancers among 5,000 individuals who had sought medical attention from their general practitioner due to potential cancer symptoms. The trial was conducted in England and Wales.

What makes this test particularly noteworthy is its ability to not only identify the presence of cancer but also pinpoint the exact location where it originated in 85% of positive cases, explained BBC.

By detecting distinct changes in small sections of genetic material that are released by different types of cancer, the Galleri test has the potential to detect treatable forms of cancer at an early stage, ultimately saving lives.

Galleri test is still a ‘work in progress’

It’s important to note that this test is still a work in progress, as the researchers themselves emphasize. However, if further developed and implemented, it could significantly increase the number of identified cancer cases.

Currently, patients with potential cancer symptoms often undergo multiple tests and hospital visits due to the variety of possible causes for their symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss.

In the largest study of its kind involving patients with suspected cancer symptoms, over 350 individuals were subsequently diagnosed with cancer using traditional methods such as scans and biopsies.

Among those who tested positive on the blood test, 75% were found to have cancer, while 2.5% of those who tested negative were later diagnosed with cancer, according to the results of the study.

Not accurate to ‘rule in or rule out cancer’

Although the blood test is not yet precise enough to definitively determine the presence or absence of cancer, it has proven to be incredibly valuable for patients, according to Professor Mark Middleton, the lead researcher of the study, as reported by BBC News.

Professor Middleton said that the test exhibited an 85% accuracy rate in identifying the origin of cancer. This aspect of the test holds significant value because determining the appropriate diagnostic test for patients presenting with symptoms that may be indicative of cancer is often not immediately evident.

Middleton also highlighted the usefulness of the test’s prediction in guiding medical professionals to make informed decisions regarding whether to order a scope or a scan. This ensures that the most appropriate test is chosen initially, avoiding unnecessary delays or additional testing.

The findings of this study will be presented at the prestigious American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago, further highlighting the importance and potential impact of this research.

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