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Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department is undertaking into the links between allergies and asthma. [116446]

The main Government agency for research into the cause and treatments of disease is the Medical Research Council (MRC) which receives its funding via the Department of Trade and Industry. Asthma is a priority area for the MRC. It supports a wide range of research projects looking at asthma ranging from basic research to clinical studies. The MRC spent an estimated £3 million in 2001–02 on research in this area, including research of direct relevance to allergies and asthma.The Department of Health is funding research on air pollution and asthma under its Policy Research Programme (PRP). Current work is focused in two areas:

potential confounding effects of allergens in ambient air in determining the effects of air pollution as asthma exacerbations, effects of other air pollutants on patients with asthma.

The Department is also funding a £100,000 project at the David Hide Asthma & Allergy Research Centre on the effect of a low allergen indoor environment on exacerbations of asthma.