The Holy Grail

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a single blood test that could pick up not just one, but dozens of early cancers, allowing early treatment, and countless lives to be saved? According to an auspiciously named American high tech company, GRAIL, Inc., just such a goal might be in reach. It claims it’s Galleri blood test, which uses clever technology to detect fragments of tumour DNA in the blood, can detect many common cancers in the early stages, with a false positive rate below 1%. On the back of this, it has secured a ‘commercial partnership program‘ with the NHS to pilot the test in around 165,000 people, starting next year. Hatt Mancock, the health secretary who increasingly resembles a schoolboy who has just shot his neighbour’s dog with a poison dart, can hardly contain his excitement. ‘We are building a world-leading diagnostics industry in the UK — not just for coronavirus, but for other diseases too,’ he gushed. Could this be the ‘exciting and ground-breaking new blood test’ Mancock says it is, or  is it another world-beating Operation Bonfire of taxpayers’ money?

Read more