NHS sees an impressive number of local people volunteering for ground-breaking cancer test trial as mobile clinic arrives in Peterborough

Participants in the world’s largest trial of a revolutionary new blood test, Galleri TM, which can detect more than 50 types of cancer often before symptoms appear, have been arriving for their appointments at Peterborough Town Cricket Club.

The response from local people has been so positive that all the appointments for the mobile clinic have now been booked.

Dr Linda Hunter, Clinical Lead for the East of England North Cancer Alliance said: “The response to the NHS-Galleri trial in Peterborough has been really positive. These people are contributing to a study that could prevent cancer deaths not just here but across the UK and around the world. If you have booked an appointment, make sure you attend – you could be helping us to revolutionise cancer care.”

The selected residents, who are all aged between 50-77 from Peterborough, have responded to invite letters sent out from the NHS.

The mobile clinic will be stationed in Peterborough until 10th December when it will move on to its next location at the business park in Cambridge, where it will be based from 13th December to 15th January.

The participants, who have not had a cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last three years, will be giving a blood sample at their first appointment. They will be invited back after 12 months, and again at two years, to give two further blood samples.

The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test checks for the earliest signs of cancer in the blood. The NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, will assess how well the test works in the NHS and whether the technology can be used as a tool to screen people with no cancer symptoms. The trial aims to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally, including those who have now signed up in Peterborough, and the trial team will include people from different backgrounds and ethnicities to ensure results are relevant for as many different people as possible.

The NHS-Galleri trial is a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) – meaning that half the participants will have their blood sample screened with the Galleri test right away and the other half will have their sample stored and may be tested in the future. This will allow scientists to compare the stage at which cancer is detected between the two groups. All participants will be advised to continue with their standard NHS screening appointments and to still contact their GP if they notice any new or unusual symptoms.

The test is a simple blood test that research has shown is particularly effective at finding cancers that are difficult to identify early – such as head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic, and throat cancers. It works by finding chemical changes in fragments of genetic code – cell-free DNA (cfDNA) – 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 healthcare company, GRAIL, which has developed the Galleri test. Any participants whose results indicate a possible cancer will be urgently followed up in the NHS.




People only know they’re in the test group if they are among the small minority whose test detects potential signals of cancer in their blood. These people will be contacted by the trial nurse by phone and referred to an NHS hospital for further tests.

NHS Digital is supporting through NHS DigiTrials, which allows secure and appropriate use of NHS data, helping clinical trials by reducing the time, effort and cost of developing new NHS innovations.

Initial results of the study are expected by 2023 and, if successful, NHS England plans to extend the rollout to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.

The trial is the latest initiative launched by the NHS to meet its Long-Term Plan commitment of finding three-quarters of cancers at an early stage by 2028.

Patients whose condition is diagnosed at ‘stage one’ typically have between five and 10 times the chance of surviving at least five years compared with those found at ‘stage four’.


Contact details

  • For media enquiries or to request an interview relating to the role of NHS England in the NHS-Galleri trial please contact the NHS England and Improvement East media team on england.eastcommunications@nhs.net
  • For media enquiries relating to the role of GRAIL, the operation of the trial and the technology behind the test contact, Julie Kangisser or Sam Burne James at Claremont at nhs-galleri@claremont.org.uk or on 0333 880 2642
  • For media enquiries relating to Professor Peter Sasieni, please contact: Rebecca Lewis, at Kings College London on Rebecca.s.lewis@kcl.ac.uk or 07961 046 728


Notes to editors

  • Sir Harpal Kumar is President of GRAIL Europe, the company that has developed the Galleri™ test. He said: “We are eager to bring our technology to people in the UK as quickly as we can. We’re delighted to partner with the NHS to support the NHS Long Term Plan for earlier cancer diagnosis and grateful to thousands of members of the public coming forward to participate in the trial."
  • Prof Peter Sasieni, Director of The Cancer Research UK & King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit and one of the trial’s lead investigators, said: “We need to study the Galleri test carefully to find out whether it can significantly reduce the number of cancers diagnosed at a late stage. The test could be a game-changer for early cancer detection and we are excited to be leading this important research. Cancer screening can find cancers earlier when they are more likely to be treated successfully, but not all types of screening work.”
  • Prof Charles Swanton FRS FRCP, Co-Chief Investigator for the trial: “For those participants referred to secondary care by the trial team, specialists will receive a test report indicating, with a high degree of accuracy, the location of the suspected cancer to guide diagnostic work-up. The numbers referred from this trial across England are likely to be small and would include people who might otherwise present at a later date with cancer that is more difficult to treat.”
  • East of England has two Cancer Alliances, North and South, working together with NHS organisations, local authorities, voluntary and community sector partners, to transform cancer services across the region.
  • The Cancer Alliances bring together clinicians, commissioners, patients and members of the local community, to deliver better outcomes for patients through early diagnosis and more integrated and personalised care for all those affected by cancer.
  • They also have a key role in supporting pioneering work on latest treatments and prevention of the disease through healthy lives.
  • There are 21 Cancer Alliances in England, working to deliver the NHS Long Term Plan commitments for people affected by cancer.
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