HC Deb 16 April 1956 vol 551 c673
33. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Minister of Health what representations he has received in consequence of his decision not to make funds available for the provision of a television microscope for biological research into cancer.

Miss Hornsby-Smith

No request has been made to my right hon. Friend to provide such an instrument and the question of funds has therefore not arisen.

Mr. Fernyhough

Is the hon. Lady aware that Professor J. D. McGee of the Imperial College of Science and Technology said recently that it was a thousand pities that money was not available for such a microscope? The Profesor went on to say: One cannot watch continuously a living cell or organism as it changes and evolves and get the best picture by ad hoc adjustments. These severe limitations can be removed by the adoption of the television technique. In view of the growing number of deaths from cancer, does the hon. Lady think it right to withhold this instrument from those who are carrying on the fight, or deny funds necessary to wage a successful fight against this scourge?

Miss Hornsby-Smith

I think that the hon. Member is regarding this instrument as something far more advanced than, in fact, it is. Experiments have been carried out into the possibility of evolving an instrument of this kind, but at the moment no instrument exists. The laboratory prototypes which were constructed have been dismantled. No representations have been made to my right hon. Friend for such a development.