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Hope for future Essex cancer patients with new test that could detect more than 50 types of cancer

Future cancer patients in Essex could get their diagnosis more quickly thanks to a new test which could help detect more than 50 types of cancer being trialled at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
The hospitals run by the trust are the only ones in Essex to be trialling this important SYMPLIFY study, and more than 700 patients from Essex have taken part to date.
The nationwide SYMPLIFY study, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), will investigate a new multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test in the NHS, known as Galleri, for patients with non-specific symptoms that could be a result of undiagnosed cancer.
Its aim is to show how the Galleri test could be used to increase cancer detection rates and improve outcomes for patients.
Dr Catherine O'Doherty, medical director for cancer, who is leading the trial at the Trust, said: “The study is looking at whether a blood test will help us to diagnose cancer more quickly and simply in the future. The results of the blood test are compared with the patient’s final diagnosis to help us understand whether this may be a useful test to do.
“Although the SYMPLIFY study won’t directly help the patients who are taking part in it, they are benefiting the lives of future patients. We know that many patients take part in clinical studies not to benefit themselves but rather to benefit others and we depend on this to allow cancer medicine to become better.
“We are really pleased to be able to offer our patients to be part of this major national study which could have a profound influence on the way we diagnose cancer in the future. Being part of this important trial shows our continued commitment to research in helping improve the lives not just of our patients locally, but patients across the UK and the world.”
Recruitment of participants started in summer 2021, and researchers were seeking to recruit around 6,000 patients with early signs and symptoms that might be caused by cancer from sites across England and Wales by 30 November 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 per cent.
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. This should increase the chance of successful treatment and improve outcomes for patients.
SYMPLIFY will assess how Galleri 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, the company behind the test, 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.”