The UK is partnering with a California health care company to test a simple blood test in the hope that it can detect some 50 types of cancer at an early stage.
The Galleri multi-cancer screening test being developed by Menlo Park-based company GRAIL will be tested by 165,000 people in the UK from mid-2021, CNN reports.
The results of that pilot program are expected in 2023.
“Early detection – especially for difficult-to-treat conditions such as ovarian and pancreatic cancer – can save many lives,” said Simon Stevens, head of the UK’s National Health Service.
GRAIL’s research into early cancer detection is supported by investments from Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, according to the company’s website.
But some experts doubt whether the screening test is effective.
“The Galleri blood test is a test that can detect cancer in the blood in individuals with early cancer, although the evidence that it does so is weak,” said Paul Pharoah, professor of cancer epidemiology at the University of Cambridge. in an interview with the Science Media Center.
“The NHS should not invest in such a test until it has been adequately evaluated in well-conducted, large-scale clinical trials.”