HC Deb 22 June 1971 vol 819 cc258-9W
Mr. Ron Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the amount of Government money spent in cancer research during the year 1970; and how this compares with money spent 10 years ago.

Mrs. Thatcher

It is not possible to calculate total expenditure at either date. Financial provision for cancer research made by the Medical Research Council—the main Government agency responsible for work in this field—increased from some £650.000 in 1960–61 to £2,166,000 in 1970–71. Further research supported by public funds is carried out under the auspices of the Health Departments and hospital boards and in universities and medical schools. In addition, the United Kingdom Government have made an annual subvention to the I.A.R.C. since its formation in 1965, amounting to some £80,000 in the current year.

Mr. Deakins

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps are being taken by the Medical Research Council to foster research into the early detection of cancer; and what action the Medical Research Council is taking to develop a blood test diagnosis on the lines worked out by Dr. P. Gold of the Montreal General Hospital, details of which are in his possession.

Mrs. Thatcher

The Medical Research Council is supporting several different lines of investigation aimed at the further development of methods to enable cancer to be detected at an early stage in the disease.

Consideration is currently being given by the Council, in close collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Security, to the question of extending work on tumour index substances and tumour associated antigens, including methods developed both by Dr. Gold and by workers in the United Kingdom.

The presence of carcino-embryonic antigens in the blood is associated with a number of clinical conditions.