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Cancer: Research

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research and development schemes into new cancer treatments his Department sponsors; and if he will make a statement. (196674)

The Department funds national health service research and development through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The NIHR research programmes support high quality research of relevance and in areas of high priority to patients and the NHS and are open to researchers investigating new cancer treatments.

The NIHR Health Technology Assessment Programme focuses specifically on the effectiveness, costs and broader impact of health care treatments and tests for those who plan, provide or receive care in the NHS and is funding a range of research on cancer treatments. In addition, the NIHR National Cancer Research Network provides NHS support for trials and other well designed cancer studies.

In partnership with Cancer Research UK, the NIHR is funding 15 experimental cancer medicine centres across England. A further two centres are in development. This initiative brings together laboratory and clinical patient-based research to speed up the development of new therapies by evaluating novel drugs and biomarkers, thus individualising patient treatment.

The Department works in close partnership with United Kingdom cancer research funders through the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). NCRI initiatives such as the NCRI Prostate Cancer Collaboratives—to which the Department contributes over half of the total £11.6 million funding—are discovering and developing new cancer treatments.

The Department does not normally take on the role of sponsor under the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004.