Posted: Fri 24th Sep 2021

Researchers and patients in North Wales to support national multi-cancer detection test trial for people living in or visiting the wrexham area

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board staff and patients across North Wales are supporting a new trial to help evaluate a new multi-cancer detection test.

The Health Board has joined Health and Care Research Wales in supporting GRAIL and the University of Oxford, to evaluate the use of a new multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test which can detect over 50 types of cancers.

Health and Care Research Wales teams across NHS Wales are taking part in the SYMPLIFY study, which will investigate a multi-cancer early detection test developed by GRAIL, known as Galleri, for patients with non-specific symptoms that may be a result of cancer.

Jane Heron, Clinical Research Specialist Nurse and Principal Investigator on the clinical trial for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “As a research team we are all so delighted to be a part of this very important study and to be able to offer patients in North Wales the opportunity to take part.”

“We are approaching all patients who are potentially eligible as there is a strict criteria to be part of the trial. As an oncology nurse I feel that this test could change how patients are diagnosed and treated in the future.”

The aim of the SYMPLIFY study is to demonstrate how the test could be used to increase cancer detection rates and simplify diagnosis.

At present, Wales will be inviting around 700 patients to take part in this study.

In total 6,000 patients from sites across England and Wales, who have been referred by their GP will have their blood samples tested with Galleri alongside their usual care, in order to validate the Galleri test.

Using revolutionary next-generation sequencing technology, Galleri has the potential to complement existing screening programmes and current tests to enhance early stage diagnosis, when cancers can be treated more successfully.

The study is one of the first to be rolled out in Wales under the Health and Care Research Wales One Site Wales approach, a streamlined way to deliver research studies across the country.

The approach is part of a wider One Wales programme of work, designed to reduce duplication and increase speed of set up and delivery of research.

Within the programme, health boards can use these approaches to ensure more people than ever are be able to access the trial through local services.

The SYMPLIFY trial is currently recruiting at 19 district hospitals, across all seven Health Boards in Wales, coordinated by Velindre University NHS Trust.

Professor Dean Harris, who is the Principal Investigator for Wales, said: “The team are thrilled to roll out this important study to health boards around the country.”

“The One Site Wales approach means that Wales is more attractive than ever for trialling revolutionary new technologies such as Galleri, which could help change the way we diagnose cancer forever.”

Dr Nicola Williams, Director of Support and Delivery at Health and Care Research Wales, said: “We are incredibly proud of our research staff’s efforts in rolling out this trial on such an enormous scale. We’re looking forward to playing our part and tracking its progress in the coming months.”

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, from which the collective results may see the multi-cancer early detection technology included in routine visits with healthcare providers, such as to a GPs and other non-hospital settings.

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