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Research: Stem Cells

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding for research into the development of treatment using (a) embryonic stem cells and (b) stem cells from umbilical cords and other adult stem cells his Department has allocated in each of the last five years; and what mechanism is used to determine how funds are apportioned between the two treatments. (147400)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is the main agency through which the Government support medical and clinical research.

The MRC allocates funding in response-mode following competitive peer review on the basis of scientific quality and potential impact. The MRC supports research on embryonic and adult (including fetal) stem cells, which ranges from fundamental cell biology through to early phase clinical trials. The ‘development of treatment’ is not a term usually associated with pre-clinical trial scientific research; however, based on a broad interpretation, the majority of MRC’s research could be categorised as such.

Funding for stem cell research by the MRC and the Department of Trade and Industry’s Technology Programme for the last five years was as follows:

Percentage of spend on stem cell research (MRC only):

Financial year

MRC (£ million)

DTI, Technology Programme (£ million

Adult (including fetal)1

Embryonic

2002/03

4.5

0.00

n/a

n/a

2003/04

14.5

0.00

n/a

n/a

2004/05

14.2

0.00

50

50

2005/06

17.4

0.80

45

55

2006/07

2

1.30

n/a = Not available.

1 Fetal includes umbilical stem cells but information is not held in such a way as to identify spend separately.

2 Not yet available.