HC Deb 19 January 1977 vol 924 cc227-8W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when the Medical Research Council's working group on treatment for retinitis pigmentosa was set up; what its terms of reference are; who are its members; and what progress it has made.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

This Working Party first met on 6th September 1976. Its tasks are to review the present state of knowledge of the retinal dystrophies, to evaluate currently available therapeutic measures and to identify areas for research.

The members of the Working Party are:

  • Professor W. I. McDonald, Institute of Neurology (Chairman).
  • Dr. K. Barnett, Animal Health Trust.
  • Mr. A. Bird, Moorfields Eye Hospital.
  • Professor B. Boycott, MRC Cell Biophysics Unit.
  • Dr. S. J. Crews, Birmingham and Midland Eye Hospital.
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  • Professor H. J. Evans, MRC Clinical & Population Cytogenetics Unit.
  • Professor W. S. Foulds, Department of Ophthalmology Western Infirmary, Glasgow.
  • Dr. H. Ikeda, Vision Research Unit, St. Thomas's Hospital.
  • Mr. B. Jay, Moorfields Eye Hospital.
  • Professor C. I. Phillips, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Edinburgh.
  • Professor R. A. Weale, Institute of Ophthalmology.

The Department of Health and Social Security is represented on the Working Party by an observer.

The Working Party has drawn up criteria for the diagnosis and classification of patients with retinitis pigmentosa. The Medical Research Council has just awarded a grant to two research workers at the Institute of Ophthalmology for studies, based on these criteria, of genetic and clinical aspects of the disease.

Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how much money has been allocated by or to the Medical Research Council for research into retinitis pigmentosa in each of the last four years.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

Most of the work supported by the Council which is relevant to retinitis pigmentosa has formed part of wider programmes of research. The Council cannot, therefore, accurately isolate a figure for the cost of retinitis pigmentosa research, but estimate this at about £24,000 in the current year and a little less in the three previous years.