HC Deb 30 October 2002 vol 391 c828W
Kevin Brennan

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the statement by the hon. Member for Tottenham (Mr. Lammy) of 22 October 2002, Official Report, column 61WH, on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, how the £2 million on research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in 2001–02 has been spent; and if he will make a statement. [77679]

Mr. Lammy

[holding answer 28 October 2002]: There are five research projects into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), which receives its grant in aid from the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Technology.

Four are led by Professor T. Partridge at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre's Muscle Cell Biology Group. These are:

"Study of factors influencing repair and regeneration of skeletal muscle", which is investigating ways of enhancing the mechanisms that promote the normal regeneration of muscle and of counteracting the factors that inhibit the process in genetic disorders such as DMD;

"Investigation of fibrogenic mechanisms in dystrophic muscle", which is investigating fibrosis, a feature of chronic muscle trauma, which is implicated in the clinical decline of DMD;

"Identification of muscle specific promoter/enhancer regions of collagen 1 gene", which is looking for genes encoding collagen 1, because the accumulation of excess collagenous connective tissue is thought to play a part in the pathogenesis of DMD, and once the gene has been found, it is hoped that production can be reduced; and

"Investigation of the mechanisms that generate revertant muscle fibres", which aims to discover why people with DMD have an unusual production of dystrophin despite the presence of mutations that ought to prevent its production.

One is led by Professor K. Davies at the MRC functional genetics unit. This is "Molecular analysis of neuromuscular and neurological disease", which involves the molecular analysis of DMD.