The new blood test could mean that doctors will be able to see if a cancer treatment is working without the patient needing to have a scan.
Doctors and Scientists at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust and Cancer Research UK Manchester have been awarded a £1million grant from Cancer Research UK to see if the test can detect whether a commonly used cancer treatment is working or not.
Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Christie, Professor Gordon Jayson, said, “This is a very exciting, long awaited and much-needed breakthrough in cancer research and treatment, which should have a global impact.
“We are moving towards a world of personalised cancer therapy using a combination of expensive, toxic drugs and it’s important we use them in the right way.
“Scanning is quite a crude way of seeing if a treatment is working.
“The blood test will enable us to rapidly react to a patient’s response to a treatment, stop it if it isn’t working and quickly consider other options which could be of more benefit to that particular individual, potentially extending their life.”
Before the blood test can be given to the NHS, it will undergo clinical trials via the VALTIVE programme, which is a partnership between The Christie Pathology Partnership (CPP), and the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute Cancer Biomarker Centre (CBC), and the NCRI ovarian cancer research group.
The test won’t be validated until it is in the second phase of the VALTIVE programme, the VALTIVE 2 trial, which is the final step before it is taken on by the NHS.
Dr Hilary Morrison, 60, an ovarian cancer patient and retired GP from Stoke-on-Trent said: “This new blood test will be of tremendous benefit to patients. No patient wants to continue with a drug that isn’t helping them, or delay starting on something else that may benefit them more.
“Apart from losing the unwanted side effects, patients can hopefully start a more effective treatment more quickly, rather than persisting for months with their cancer continuing to grow and spread.
“And as a former GP, I am only too aware of the high cost of these drugs, so stopping an ineffective treatment will make more money available for other treatments that may benefit the patient more, so it’s a win, win all round.”
Find out more on The Christie NHS Foundation Trust website.