Blood tests research to catch cancer early

14 October 2021

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is recruiting patients to a national trial to see if blood tests can detect cancers early and therefore improve early diagnosis, patient experience, prognosis and treatment.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is recruiting patients to a national trial to see if blood tests can detect cancers early and therefore improve early diagnosis, patient experience, prognosis and treatment. The project will recruit patients from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital who have been referred to the ADOC (Acute Diagnostic Oncology Clinic) with non-site specific symptoms suspicious of cancer, or via the 2 week-wait suspected cancer pathway for lung, upper GI (gastrointestinal) and lower GI cancers.    

SYMPLIFY is an observational study to assess a multi-cancer early detection (MCED) test in individuals referred with signs and symptoms of cancer. The Trust has joined the SYMPLIFY study as part of RM Partners, the West London Cancer Alliance hosted by The Royal Marsden. The test in question looks for 50 cancers, only three of which are routinely screened for by other means.  

Dr Abhijit Gill leads the ADOC service and is principal investigator for this study.

Dr Gill said: “Detecting cancer early gives better outcomes for patients. This trial is part of a bigger set of trials exploring the use of blood tests in cancer detection. Patients taking part in this study will have their diagnostic test(s) in the normal way, but they will also give a blood sample and permission to check their health records later to see if they were diagnosed with cancer and what appointments and other tests they had.

“We hope to learn how these tests might be used to detect cancers earlier.” 

The trial is part of the wider NHS-Galleri partnership, which is trialling a new test that looks for potential signs of more than 50 types of cancer in blood samples. Only three of these cancers are routinely screened for by other means.   

The recruitment period is 4–5 weeks, with the aim of recruiting 400–600 adult patients aged 18+ across both sites. The expected end date for recruitment is 31 Oct 2021. 

Suitable patients will be approached in the hospital. This study does not require additional volunteers from the community. 

This project has support from National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)