A blood test that can detect the early signs of bowel cancer and will be rolled out in GP practices has been developed by a Wales-based life sciences company.
CanSense, which describes itself as a Swansea University “spin out,” said it spent more than seven years developing the test, which can be conducted in practices and produces a spectral fingerprint that can be compared to the company's database of thousands of blood samples, revealing the level of cancer in the blood.
It is hoped the technology, which will be ready for patient use in 24 months, will reduce referrals to hospital and cut down on colonoscopies which it claims could save the NHS £250 million a year.
The company said test results can be shared within 48 hours, “allowing GPs to make immediate and accurate decisions for their patients, enabling a quicker pathway to treatment and potentially saving the downstream late-stage oncology costs of £19,000 per person.”
“It is hoped that additional funding will accelerate mainstream primary care adoption of the proven technology to help decrease the backlog of patients waiting for referrals,” CanSense said.
The technology proved to be successful during clinical trials, securing it support from the Welsh government's accelerated growth programme and a grant from Cancer Research Wales and Health and Care Research Wales.
CanSense also said it is working with primary care practices in four health boards in the country on further clinical trials alongside rapid diagnostic centres and Bowel Screening Wales as well as two English health boards, Leeds In Vitro Diagnostic co-operative and Wessex and Oxford Academic Health Science Networks.
CanSense's announcement of the technology coincides with Bowel Cancer Awareness Month. Around 42,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer each year in the UK.