§ Mr. Marten
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the total expenditure estimated to be devoted to spina bifida by the Medical Research Council and the Department of Health and Social Security, respectively, in 1976.
§ Mr. Mulley
It is not possible to isolate a figure in respect of expenditure by the Medical Research Council on research into spina bifida because such research forms part of the Council's programme of studies of genetic and other factors which give rise to developmental abnormalities. Relevant work under the Council's auspices include a project at its Clinical Genetics Unit, "Family studies of genetic and environmental factors in the aetiology of common congenital malformation especially of the neural tube and heart" and two project grants at the University of Edinburgh Department of Human Genetics on the development of an ante-natal diagnostic test; and the special study at the Royal Marsden Hospital which has led to a potential 219W screening method for detection of spina bifida is continuing.
The Department of Health and Social Security has started a research programme which will include work on spina bifida and its general teratology research programme is continuing. Two research projects on spina bifida were completed at the end of March 1976 on which the actual expenditure over a period of eight years was £91,200.