Hundreds of volunteers from across Wirral are returning to help the NHS study a groundbreaking cancer detection test.
The participants will have blood samples taken at a mobile clinic in the city over the coming weeks in their second appointment for the NHS-Galleri trial.
Participants will be helping to investigate whether the multi-cancer blood screening test can help to detect cancer early, before symptoms appear.
Since the NHS-Galleri trial was launched nationally in Cheshire and Merseyside during September 2021, it has successfully enrolled more than 140,000 volunteers from many different backgrounds across England, including over 22,000 from across our region.
Participants in Wirral are now receiving an invitation to take part again and will have a blood sample taken at a mobile clinic, which will be stationed at Europa Pools Leisure Centre, Conway Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6RN from 13 April 2023, to 4 May 2023.
Dr Chris Warburton, Medical Director at Cheshire & Merseyside Cancer Alliance said, “We are delighted to be welcoming back volunteers from across Wirral for their vital second appointment as part of the trial.
“We know from feedback that volunteers found the process of enrolling very straightforward. We want to thank them for returning for both their second and third appointments, which will be even shorter. It’s such a simple thing to do but could make a big difference.”
Those taking part were aged 50 to 77 years old at the point of enrolling on to the trial and had not been diagnosed or treated for cancer in the last three years.
Over the coming months, the study will also return to Crewe and Macclesfield, with volunteers contacted directly to attend their second screening.
This trial continues to put the NHS at the forefront of cutting-edge research and technology. The Galleri blood test, if successful, could play a major part in achieving the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition to catch three-quarters of cancers at an early stage, when they are generally easier to treat.
Professor Charles Swanton, Co-Chief Investigator for the NHS-Galleri trial, said, “These next trial appointments are really vital for helping researchers understand whether the test could be used in the future as part of the NHS cancer screening programme.
“Whilst the first year of the trial may pick up cancers that have existed for some time, the second and third years provide the best opportunity to explore the expected benefits of picking up new cancers at an early stage when treatment is generally more successful.”
If successful, the NHS in England plans to roll out the test to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025. In its first year, the trial has referred a small proportion of participants for urgent NHS cancer investigations, following detection of a positive Galleri cancer signal.
Research has shown that the Galleri test could help to detect cancers that are typically difficult to identify early – such as head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic, and throat cancers.
The test works by finding chemical changes in fragments of DNA 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.
The trial is operating with the support of eight NHS Cancer Alliances across England that span Cheshire and Merseyside, Greater Manchester, the North East and North Cumbria, West Midlands, East Midlands, East of England, Kent and Medway, and South East London.
After this round of second appointments, local volunteers will be asked to come back a third time in around one year from now.
For more information on the trial, see https://www.nhs-galleri.org