A simple blood test could diagnose deadly brain cancers, avoiding high-risk surgery. This technique was found by a clinical validation study led by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London.

For years, the diagnosis of brain tumours has been challenging. Worldwide, it impacts hundreds of thousands of individuals annually. The leading cause of death for children and under 40 age adults in the UK is identified as cancer. After completing this research, you don’t have to worry as much as before. A basic blood test can detect brain cancers earlier.

Let’s keep reading through this article. You will be able to know everything about that.

The TriNetra-Glio Blood Test

The TriNetra-Glio blood test, developed with funding from Datar Cancer Genetics, functions by capturing tumour cells that have detached from the tumour and are circulating in the blood. These separated cells are then stained and can be visually identified under a microscope. 

Using this innovative technique, a world-first will be able to identify glial tumours, including glioblastoma (GBM), the most prevalent high-grade brain tumour in adults. Using this technique will help patients with suspected high-grade gliomas, encompassing GBM, astrocytomas, and oligodendrogliomas. It has the potential to facilitate earlier diagnosis, expedite treatment, and enhance survival rates.

This affordable and simple technology speeds up diagnoses for patients who can’t have biopsies, especially for aggressive cases.

Patient Story Before Coming This Breakthrough Research

GBM patient Steve Ackroyd, a TV editor residing in Palmers Green, north London, initially received a misdiagnosis of epilepsy, leading to treatment. However, his brain tumour diagnosis was delayed by three months, finally confirmed in August 2022. He is a 47-year-old father who has a 12-year-old daughter. He underwent a surgical biopsy, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy. 

Currently, he is undergoing immunotherapy treatment in Germany. To cover its cost, his wife, Francesca, organized the crowdfunding page, and it reached £300,000.

Francesca expressed frustration, stating, “In Steve’s case, he went through a surgical biopsy to determine his tumour type. We waited seven weeks for the results, only to find out that the tissue was later deemed to be a ‘poor sample.’ Unfortunately, all the delays cost us precious time when he could have been on treatment.”

Did you know that less than 1% of GBM patients survive more than 10 years, and most patients survive less than 12 months? So, this discovery is a human achievement.

Implications and Future Prospects

Dr Nelofer Syed, heading the Center at Imperial’s Department of Brain Sciences, stresses the vital need for an affordable, non-invasive method in early brain tumour detection, which is crucial for better patient care. The technology aims to offer a risk-free and patient-friendly blood test, potentially achieving a world-first for detecting inaccessible tumours without invasive or radiological procedures.

Kevin O’Neill, a consultant neurosurgeon at Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust and honorary clinical senior lecturer at Imperial’s Department of Brain Sciences, co-leads the Center. He highlights the potential of this approach to speed up diagnosis, enabling personalized treatments and improving survival chances. Appreciation is extended to everyone contributing to the study, especially the involved patients.

The promising work on the TriNetra-Glio blood test has garnered attention from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US. They are now set on conducting a larger study in the UK. If successful, this breakthrough could benefit patients with suspected high-grade tumours in as little as two years.

Call for Action

Dan Knowles, CEO of Brain Tumour Research, expressed, “This groundbreaking research could lead to earlier diagnosis and improved outcomes for brain tumour patients“. The research undertaken in UK universities is world-class and something we should all be proud of, but we need so much more. There is an urgent need for novel approaches, particularly in the treatment of GBM, which is fatal in most cases. Brain tumours kill more people in the UK under the age of 40 than any other cancer, and we have to find a cure for this devastating disease.

Shockingly, there have been no improvements in treating this tumour for 20 years. The usual care for GBM patients – surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy – hasn’t changed.

This is why we are campaigning for the Government and larger charities to invest more, and we will keep up the pressure until patients and their families get the help they so desperately need.”

As mentioned previously, Brain tumours are a leading cause of death for those under 40. Shockingly, only 1% of cancer research funds have focused on this disease since 2002.


In conclusion, using simple blood tests could diagnose deadly brain cancers earlier. TriNetra-Glio, a result of groundbreaking research, offers a non-invasive approach, potentially transforming care. Patient stories, like Steve Ackroyd’s, underscore the urgency for novel treatments. The call for action emphasizes increased investment and support to find a cure for this devastating disease.

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