Cancer Patient in Hospital

NHS Pilots Faster Lung Cancer Diagnosis with Blood Test

The NHS is trialling a new blood test for lung cancer patients. The circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) test analyses a simple blood sample to identify genetic markers in tumours. This could significantly speed up diagnosis compared to traditional biopsies, allowing for earlier and more targeted treatment.

Over 10,000 patients with suspected lung cancer will be offered the test by next March. This follows a successful pilot involving 2,000 patients.

Faster Results for Faster Treatment:

  • ctDNA tests provide results in just 14 days, potentially leading to quicker treatment decisions.
  • Currently, tissue biopsies are used for diagnosis, which can take longer.

Hope for Lung Cancer Patients:

Lung cancer is a major concern, affecting thousands in England yearly. This new test offers hope for earlier diagnoses and improved patient outcomes. It's part of a series of advancements in NHS cancer care, including recent rollouts of new immunotherapy and a time-saving cancer jab.

Peter Johnson, National Clinical Director for Cancer at NHS England, said: 

“This new blood test that we have been piloting has the potential to help many more cancer patients access targeted treatments more rapidly on the NHS, to make personalised treatments available sooner, and ensure that people with cancer have the best possible chance of survival."

“The NHS has shown it can lead the way on innovation in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and this pilot is another example of our commitment to getting patients cutting-edge treatments and therapies to improve outcomes, giving people facing lung cancer more precious time with loved ones”.

Professor Sanjay Popat, co-clinical lead of the ctDNA pilot and a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: “CtDNA liquid biopsies have the potential to transform cancer care for patients, from earlier diagnosis to prognosis and better management of treatments.

“It is fantastic that through collaborating with NHS England we can look to bring cutting-edge genomic testing to patients in the NHS, resulting in many patients receiving targeted treatments rather than standard chemotherapy.

“Our Marsden360 service, established in partnership with Guardant Health, also allows us to significantly increase our capacity for research using ctDNA testing, improving treatment options for patients across the UK”.

The NHS England pilot is being managed through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service, and led by the North Thames and North East and Yorkshire Genomic Medicine Service Alliances.

Image credit: iStock

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