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Cancer Research UK Funds £5M Project to Improve Diagnoses

NEW YORK (360Dx) – Cancer Research UK said today that it is funding a project that may enable general practitioners to conduct new and improved cancer diagnostic tests, and reduce the need to send referring tests to outside laboratories.

Project funding, to the tune of £5 million ($6.3 million), will support investigating ways of bringing new and improved cancer diagnostic tests to GP practices, Cancer Research UK said.

It noted that the project "will assess the accuracy, cost effectiveness, and suitability of a range of diagnostic methods and tools for both patients and GPs," to reduce the time spent waiting to get a diagnosis and lessen the burden of referral testing.

The project, CanTest, may enable the use of tests that can be conducted by primary care practitioners — including GPs, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners, Cancer Research UK said.

CanTest will involve work by researchers at the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter, University College London, and the University of Leeds, as well as institutions located outside the UK. They will collaborate with GPs and scientists from multiple disciplines who are working with diagnostics tests, Cancer Research UK said.

It noted that the project will also facilitate establishing an International School for Cancer Detection Research in Primary Care, where "a new generation of scientists seeking to make the leap into this field" will receive training.

“As a GP myself, I know that it can be frustrating to wait weeks for results before making any decisions for my patients," Willie Hamilton, a lead researcher from the University of Exeter, said in a statement. He noted that the researchers are "trying to reduce this time by assessing ways that GPs could carry out these tests by themselves, as long as it’s safe and sensible to do so."

He said that the researchers are open to assessing many different tests, and that they are interested in hearing from potential collaborators.