What happens to NHS-Galleri trial blood samples

Simranjit Kaur Mehta

Simranjit Kaur Mehta is a Clinical Project Manager for the NHS-Galleri trial, based at The Cancer Research UK & King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit. She is responsible for oversight of the trial, ensuring the trial is delivered successfully in accordance with the relevant governance and regulations.

My name is Simranjit Kaur Mehta, and I have been a Clinical Project Manager for the NHS-Galleri trial for the past 2 years, working at The Cancer Research UK & King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit. I have worked in clinical research for over 8 years and am passionate about cancer research. 

I am very proud to be a part of the NHS-Galleri trial, which is such an important and impactful trial. I would like to thank you for taking part in the trial: without your participation, this trial would not be possible. 

Participants are now being invited to their third and final trial appointment, where they will be asked to give a blood sample and fill in a short health survey. Every one of the blood samples provided at trial appointments is important to help understand if the Galleri® test could help the NHS detect cancer early. Finding cancer early usually means it is easier to treat.

What happens to your blood sample after your trial appointment?

After your blood sample is collected, the sample is labelled with a code number. This code number replaces any information that could identify you, such as your name or date of birth. Your sample is then carefully packaged and sent to a UK laboratory for processing. 

The next step in your blood sample’s journey depends if you are in the test or control group. 

If you are in the test group, your sample is sent to the GRAIL, LLC laboratories in the United States (US) for testing with the Galleri test. A small number of blood samples from the test group are expected to have a cancer signal detected. If a cancer signal is detected, it does not mean you definitely have cancer, but it means you might have cancer and you need to have some further tests to check. 

If you are in the control group, your sample is stored in the UK and not tested immediately but may be tested in the future. The control group is as important as the test group, because the groups will be compared to understand if the test can help the NHS find cancer early. 

It is important that people from both the test and control groups come back for their last appointment. Information from both groups is equally valuable. You can read more about the test and control groups on the NHS-Galleri trial website.

How could your blood samples be used in future research?

You may remember that at your first appointment, you filled in a consent form to confirm that you wanted to take part in the trial. In this form, you were asked if your blood samples could be used to help with future research. This research could include work to further improve the Galleri test, and to develop and improve other tests and see how well they work. 

If you are in the control group, your blood sample may be sent to the US and tested with the Galleri test in the future. You will not get any test results from the trial even after the trial has finished. 

Your samples will not be used for any other purpose, and will not be shared with any other organisation. You cannot be identified from any of the information used in future research.

If you change your mind about your samples being stored for future research, you can contact the trial team to let them know and you do not need to give a reason why. Your stored samples will then be destroyed.

Helping research now and in the future

I want to thank you for taking part in the NHS-Galleri trial and giving blood samples. Your samples are an important part of the trial. By agreeing for your samples to be used for future research, you could also help cancer research in years to come.