The team of scientists in Newcastle have been awarded £2 million by NHS England, to roll out a new method of screening for cancer.
The new method tests people for an inherited condition called Lynch syndrome which is thought to increase a person’s chances of developing cancer.
Lynch syndrome increases a person’s chances of developing certain types of cancer, particularly colon and rectal- which are the fourth most common cancers in the UK.
Testing for this syndrome hopes to identify thousands of potential cancer patients, across England earlier and provide patients with care sooner.
Ciaron McAnulty, Clinical Scientist at Newcastle Hospitals, said: "The success of creating this accessible test for Lynch syndrome, is a strong example of close partnership working between NHS and research scientists, emphasising the value of sharing expertise andinnovation across organisations.
"Bowel cancer is most often treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early, with a good survival rate.
"This test can be carried out at low cost and in high numbers. It will help to identify thousands of cancers earlier, when it is easier to treat, giving a much more positive outcome for patients and families."
If a person with cancer is detected as having Lynch syndrome, a DNA test can then be offered to their relatives to see who else has the condition, so that they can then be put on a regular programme of checks.
People with Lynch syndrome start getting cancers in their teens and twenties. Sadly, symptoms are often ignored and it is estimated that there are over 100,000 people affected, with the vast majority unrecognised.
Work to roll out the innovative test across the country will be in collaboration with colleagues from Newcastle University, the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria and other partners.