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To Spot it Earlier

The National Health Service is to conduct a trial of a blood-based screening test to detect cancer before any signs of the disease crop up, the Guardian reports.

According to 360Dx, Grail signed an agreement to provide the NHS with its Galleri test, which relies on a targeted methylation sequencing panel that can detect about 50 different cancer types from within blood samples.

The Guardian adds that 165,000 tests will be offered to people between the ages of 50 and 79. In particular, 140,000 tests will be given to people randomly selected from NHS records who have no symptoms of cancer, while 25,000 tests will be given to people who are suspected of having cancer, it says. According to the Guardian, the NHS hopes that the test will enable patients to be diagnosed with cancer earlier and reduce cancer deaths. "Many of these people are diagnosed too late for treatment to be effective," Lord Prior, the chair of NHS England, tells it.

If this trial is successful upon completion in 2023, NHS plans a larger trial of 1 million individuals in 2024 and 2025, the Guardian says.

360Dx notes that Grail, which is in the midst of being purchased by Illumina, plans to launch the test commercially in the US in 2021.