"Holy" Grail, Galleri Test rolls out in the UK

"Holy" Grail, Galleri Test rolls out in the UK

Victoria Allen of the Daily Mail published an ‘Exclusive’ article on August 21 2022, two years after CANCERactive, about the new Galleri test for early cancer detection producing hundreds of people who tested positive and potentially saving thousands of lives. In all, we have already covered it at least three times!

Ms Allen wrote, “A blood test for the over-50s being trialled (sic) by the NHS could prevent as many as one in ten cancer deaths in the UK. The Health Service is conducting a world-first trial of the test, which aims to detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms show” (1).

I’m not too sure what “Exclusive” actually means, but I’d like to point out that I covered the story for CANCERactive on 29th November 2020 (2), and again on the 11th July 2021 (3), and I discussed the UK National Roll out of Galleri with Professor Karol Sikora in my Sunday Show in 2021, so the story is nothing new to CANCERactive followers and we have many on the trial.

The Galleri Test is owned by an American company Grail, the Daily Mail turned this into the ‘Holy’ Grail Test.

The test picks up circulating rogue DNA fragments, which can indicate cancer presence and even suggest the blocation. This we have told you all before.

Frankly, early detection - or at least earlier detection - has the potential to change the face of cancer treatment because

  1. Some cancers might then be treated by, for example, ablation techniques including HIFU and Nanoknife, which are minimally invasive and rarely need supporting drugs or radiotherapy. 

  2. While there are tests for cancers, routine screening occurs just for five cancers, for example, mammograms for breast cancer, colonoscopy for colorectal and PSA tests for prostate, some 45 of the 50 cancers the Galleri test claims to indicate have no early warning test. For example, ovarian cancer is routinely first discovered when it has already spread.

Interestingly, Cancer Research UK are now supporting the trial having made negative comments about it originally.

The test indicates the presence of cancer in the blood by detecting tumour-derived, cell-free DNA in blood samples. Research in the USA has moved on, a group from Cleveland Clinic working with Grail to improve diagnostics. For example, the test now only gives false positives in 5% of cases. All patients should next have an oncologist confirmation.

The Galleri test is still more likely to detect cancers that are more advanced - it is less accurate in picking up stage 1 cancer, and far more accurate if the cancer is stage 4, but it is clearly able to detect 12 kinds of cancer—including ovarian, liver, pancreatic, oesophageal and head and neck cancer for which there is no current screening test. 

We will keep you posted - the current UK trial will not provide results before 2024. But all praise to the UK NHS - the Galleri test as of writing this, is still not approved by the FDA in the USA.

Go to: Blood tests for cancer





  1. Daily Mail ‘Exclusive’ - https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-11132485/Holy-grail-trialled-NHS-save-thousands-lives-detecting-cancer-symptoms-show.html 

  2. First CANCERactive blog  - https://www.canceractive.com/article/a-cancerscreening%20test%20for%20all%20in%20the%20uk 

  3. CANCERactive Gallieri review - https://www.canceractive.com/article/nhs-rolls%20out%20cancerdetecting%20blood%20test 

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