HC Deb 13 June 2003 vol 406 cc1134-5W
Vernon Coaker

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of research into(a) the causes and (b) the treatment of prostate cancer; and if he will make a statement. [117898]

Ms Blears

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

The MRC has co-funded two prostate cancer collaboratives with the Department of Health and Cancer Research UK (CRUK). The total funding from all partners is approximately £6 million over five years. These are the ICR Prostate Cancer Collaborative, directed by Colin Cooper and the Northern Prostate Cancer Consortium, directed by David Neal.

In March 2000, we announced £1 million additional new funding for urgent research studies into prostate cancer as a mark of its concern over this disease. The NHS Plan went further by announcing that the Government would increase by £1 million the resources devoted to prostate cancer for each of the next three years. This means that, quality permitting, Department of Health direct funding for prostate cancer research will be:

2000–01 1,200,000
2001–02 2,200,000
2002–03 3,200,000
2003–04 4,200,000

This is a twenty-fold increase compared with 1999–2000. Funding in previous years was:

1999–2000 200,000
1996–97 98,000

Examples of research the Department is funding are: A review of new and emerging treatments, for example, brachytherapy and cryotherapy for prostate cancer. Prostate Cancer Studentships, funded jointly with the MRC.