asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what assistance is being given by his Department for research into retinitis pigmentosa.
The Medical Research Council is the main Government-funded body conducting or supporting research into this disease. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science that in a recent report to the council by its expert working party on retinitis pigmentosa it had concluded that the present need was for basic studies on the normal development of the retina and its pathological reactions and that without a better understanding of those processes progress in treatment was unlikely. I understand that a grant for the study of abnormal retinal physiology in patients with retinitis pigmentosa has recently been awarded to two research workers in the Institute of Ophthalmology in London and that another grant has been made for research into the genetic and clinical aspects of retinitis pigmentosa with the aim of subdividing this group of disorder into individual disease states.My right hon. Friend points out that the council is always prepared to consider support and give priority to any soundly based projects of potential value for the effective treatment of this condition.