HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 cc777-8W
Mrs. Calton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding was available for research into a cure for myeloma in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement about future funding. [122028]

Miss Melanie Johnson

The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments for disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC) which receives its funding from the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office for Science and Technology. The MRCs expenditure on research on myeloma is shown in the table.

Year £
1998–99 410,000
1999–2000 390,000
2000–01 360,000
2001–02 420,000
2002–03 not available

The MRC has also supported two major myeloma studies: Myeloma VII and Myeloma VIII. Because the MRC has changed the way in which information is kept about funding of trials, the figures in the table do not include spend on these two studies. The MRC has recently awarded £1 million to the Myeloma IX trial involving 1,600 patients. This trial will evaluate a number of different therapies and modalities of treatment used and being developed for myeloma, to provide information on their impact on response rates, survival and quality of life.

The MRC funds a considerable amount of basic underpinning research which is excluded from site-specific figures. As a guide, the MRC spent £75 million on cancer research in 2001–02. In addition, research classified as undertaken in one site may well have implications in another—leukaemia would be a relevant example in the case of myeloma.

The Department of Health meets the national health service support costs of research funded by the MRC and research charities. In 2000–01, an estimated £73.2 million was spent on cancer research through research and development allocations to NHS organisations. Management of the research supported by these allocations is devolved and expenditure at project level is not held centrally by the Department.