NHS England is set to begin a large-scale trial of a new blood test that can detect over 50 types of cancer in the earliest stages of disease progression.

The Galleri test is able to identify the ‘earliest’ signs of cancer in the blood, before symptoms have even presented, said NHS England.

Previously, the test has been shown to be particularly effective at identifying cancers that are typically difficult to find in the early stages – such as head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreatic and throat cancers.

The large-scale Galleri test will aim to recruit 140,000 volunteers in eight areas of England – the first participants to take part will have blood samples taken at mobile testing clinics in retails parks and other community locations.

Participants will need to have not had a cancer diagnosis in the last three years, with the NHS already inviting tens of thousands of people from different background and ethnicities aged between 50- and 77-years-old to take part.

The NHS-Galleri trial is being led by The Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit in partnership with the NHS and Galleri test developer GRAIL.

The initial results from the study are expected by 2023 – if successful, NHS England is hoping to extend rollout of the test to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.

“It is an absolute priority to speed up the earlier detection of cancer to improve survival, and this trial has the potential to do just that across a range of types of cancer,” said Dame Cally Palmer, NHS national director for cancer.

“We are very grateful to all the people who will be taking part in this important initiative, which could help us save many more lives in the future,” she added.