Hundreds of volunteers from across Bolton will be invited to return to mobile clinics over the coming weeks for their second appointment as part of the NHS-Galleri trial.

Participants will be asked to give another blood sample to help investigate whether a multi-cancer blood screening test can help to detect cancer early before symptoms appear.

Since the NHS-Galleri trial first arrived in Bolton in April 2022, the trial has successfully enrolled over 140,000 volunteers from different backgrounds across England, including 20,000 from Greater Manchester.

Those taking part were all aged 50 to 77 when they enrolled and had not been diagnosed or treated for cancer in the last three years.

Alison Armstrong, associate director at Greater Manchester Cancer Alliance, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming back volunteers to Bolton 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.”

Fiona Noden, Bolton locality place based lead NHS Greater Manchester Integrated Care, said: “We are truly grateful for the ongoing support of volunteers in Bolton as they are invited back to give blood samples this year and for a final time next year.

“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 our NHS Long Term Plan ambition to catch three quarters of cancers at an early stage, when they are generally easier to treat.”

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. It 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 the 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.

If successful, the NHS in England plans to roll out the test to a further one million people across 2024 and 2025. In its first year, the trial has referred a small proportion of trial participants for urgent NHS cancer investigations, following detection of a positive Galleri cancer signal.

After this round of second appointments, local volunteers will be asked to come back a third time in around one year from now.

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.

“While 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.”

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