To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement about his Department's funding of cancer research being carried out by Quest at the Middlesex hospital.
The Department has recently received a number of applications for funding of research with the objective of automating cervical cancer screening, and expects to receive several more in the near future. I propose to convene an ad hoc expert panel, to be chaired by the Chief Scientist, Professor F. O'Grady, to advise Ministers and to recommend those applications which should be supported.One of the applications received was from Dr. A. M. Sincock for the funding of a project entitled "The screening of cervical neoplasia by quantitative assay of a hydrolysed DNA component present in the nuclei of cells exfoliated from the cervix uteri". Dr. Sincock's application has been considered by external referees who gave qualified support. In the light of this reaction, the relatively large number and cost of other applications with the same objective, and because Dr. Sincock is already funded by Quest for a Test until June 1988, no decision on funding has been taken. The application will be considered by the ad hoc expert panel and a decision on funding made as soon as possible.