§ Mr. John Marshall
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has received the annual report of the Medical Research Council for 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Kenneth Baker
The annual report of the Medical Research Council for 1987–88 has been submitted to me under the requirements of the Science and Technology Act1965. A copy has been laid before the House, and the report is being published today.
I was most interested to study the report, and in an eventful year for the council, I was particularly encouraged to note:
- i. the wide-ranging studies being undertaken on AIDS, including research on the development of vaccines and drugs, epidemiological studies on heterosexual transmission and on infection in infants, research on the social and biological factors influencing transmission in Africa, and the introduction of collaborative international research agreements.
- ii. exciting progress on the influence of specific strutural features of the human B-globin gene on its expression, with important implications for the development of new therapeutic agents and new therapies such as for human inherited diseases.
- iii. research of direct relevance to the health services, particularly a controlled study of outpatient cataract surgery, monitoring of the performance of intensive care units, and a controlled trial of community based care after hospital discharge.
- iv. research on rehabilitation for those with head and spinal injuries, including the treatment of incontinence and the restoration of limb movement in paraplegic and tetraplegic patients.
- v. the successful establishment of a centre for collaborative research, dedicated to work jointly with industry on strategic research problems which have the potential to lead to exploitable new products and processes.