Posted: Tue 25th Apr 2023

Innovative test to change lung cancer detection in Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Apr 25th, 2023

A groundbreaking liquid biopsy blood test is set to revolutionise lung cancer diagnosis and treatment in Wales.

The new test, made possible through the collaborative efforts of the All-Wales Medical Genomics Service (AWMGS), Illumina technology, Life Sciences Hub Wales, and investment from multiple partner organisations, could help more people in Wales by detecting multiple cancer markers without the need for invasive tissue biopsies.

Lung cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Wales and the leading cause of cancer deaths.

The use of non-invasive liquid biopsy blood tests at earlier stages of the cancer pathway can enable targeted treatments to be decided and administered more quickly, resulting in improved patient outcomes and survival rates.

The study will evaluate the benefits of liquid biopsy in people with suspected lung cancer, assessing its potential to speed up diagnosis, reduce the time between diagnosis and treatment, and eventually inform how the technology can be extended to individuals with other suspected cancer types.

Liquid biopsies are expected to play a critical role in genomic medicine, providing a better understanding of illnesses, improving patient outcomes, and transforming lives.

In the future, the technology could offer a simple, accessible, and reliable means of investigating suspected cancer and less invasive monitoring for cancer recurrence.

Testing emerging technologies such as liquid biopsies is part of the Welsh Government’s plan to transform diagnostic services, as outlined in the Diagnostic Strategy for Wales, launched on 25th April.

This strategy aims to reduce waiting times for diagnostic tests, improve patient outcomes, and support the diagnostic workforce across NHS Wales.

Eluned Morgan, the Minister for Health and Social Services, said, “Wales has been leading the way in how we integrate genomic testing into health services to revolutionise how we deliver healthcare.”

“Liquid biopsies could deliver real benefits for patients in Wales and save lives by helping us detect and treat cancers earlier.”

Morgan added that this was a key example of how partnerships across various sectors could contribute to improved health outcomes and is part of their wider work to recover and transform services through the Diagnostic Strategy for Wales.

Craig Maxwell, a patient representative of the QuicDNA steering group, shared his personal experience with the cancer diagnostic pathway in Wales, emphasising the importance of providing medical professionals with the best and most up-to-date technology. Maxwell noted that the new liquid biopsy test would support faster results, allowing patients to receive treatment sooner and helping them plan their lives following diagnosis.

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