§ 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. 
§ 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 1135W 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.