HC Deb 26 April 2004 vol 420 cc839-40W
Bob Spink

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his plans for(a) research into and (b) treatment of motor neurone disease. [167228]

Dr. Ladyman

The Government are investing an additional £40 million in stem cell research in 2004–06, which offers enormous potential in producing new treatments for diseases such as motor neurone disease (MND).

The Government are also funding the creation of a national stem cell bank. The first of its kind in the world, it will hold all types of stem cells as a resource for researchers.

The main Government agency for research into the causes of and treatments of diseases is the Medical Research Council (MRC) which receives its funding via the Department of Trade and Industry. The MRC spent £2 million in 2002–03 on research relevant to MND and on basic work on the function of motor neurones.

We are developing a national service framework (NSF) for long-term conditions which will focus on services for people with neurological conditions such as MND

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been asked to develop a clinical guideline on appropriate methods of feeding for patients who have difficulty in swallowing, which is due to be published in 2005.

We have also commissioned NICE to develop and publish evidence-based guidance on supportive and palliative care, which was published in March 2004.