U.S launches research network to evaluate emerging cancer screening technologies

Lucy Kanja, a nurse at Mbagathi Hospital in Nairobi, demonstrates how to use a mobile device that enhances visual screening for cervical cancer. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has launched a clinical trials network to evaluate emerging technologies for cancer screening, the agency said on Wednesday.

The Cancer Screening Research Network will investigate on how to identify cancers earlier, when they may be easier to treat. Eight groups have received funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of NIH, to carry out the initial activities of the network.

"Emerging technologies such as multi-cancer detection tests could transform cancer screening and help to extend the lives of many more people. We need to be sure that these technologies work and understand how to use them so they benefit everyone," said W. Kimryn Rathmell, director of NCI.

In 2024, the network will launch a pilot study, known as the Vanguard Study on Multi-Cancer Detection, to address the feasibility of using multi-cancer detection tests in future randomized controlled trials, according to NIH.

"Our goal is to systematically evaluate cancer screening technologies to understand how best to use them to ultimately save lives. Data collected through these clinical trials can be used to develop evidence-based guidelines for cancer screening," said Lori M. Minasian, deputy director of the Division of Cancer Prevention at NCI.

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