New multi-cancer early detection blood test study opens in Torbay

The research and development team involved in the study

The research and development team involved in the study. From left, Lynette Rooke, Carolyn Hayes, Amelia Perry, Michelle Bellamy, Vivien Mills, Dr Jonathan Buckley, Dr Louise Medley, Amy Millington, Shelly Chamberlain, Catherine Marshall and Arianna Janzadeh - Credit: Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust

A new study which will investigate a blood test that helps detect cancers earlier has opened at Torbay Hospital.

The nationwide SYMPLIFY study has opened at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

The study, supported by the National Institute for Health Research, will investigate a new multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test in the NHS, known as Galleri, for patients with non-specific symptoms that may be a result of cancer.

The opening of the study is the result of a close collaboration between clinical services and the research and development team at the trust.

Dr Louise Medley, principal investigator for the study at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Using the significant advances in the understanding of cancer signals, it really feels as if we are moving closer towards the ultimate goal of improving cancer survival.

"Through earlier diagnosis, targeted investigations and molecularly driven treatments we can really aim to 'get it right first time'.

"I am delighted that Torbay and South Devon has been given this opportunity to show how we can embed research into everyday clinical practice.” 

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The nature of the project has required a lot of hard work from staff across a range of departments and specialties.

 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 this summer, with the national research team seeking to recruit around 6,000 patients with early signs and symptoms suspicious for cancer from sites across England and Wales by October 29.

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 one per cent.

More than 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 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.

The study has been made possible locally by funding from the Peninsula Cancer Alliance.  

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.”