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Cancer: Medical Treatments

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much funding his Department has allocated to the development of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of cancer in the next three financial years; (200439)

(2) what recent representations he has received on the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of cancer;

(3) how many patients were receiving photodynamic therapy at the latest date for which figures are available;

(4) how many patients received photodynamic therapy in each of the last three years, broken down by hospital at which treatment was dispensed.

The Department does not collect information on the number of patients receiving photodynamic therapy (PDT), where this treatment is provided or the cost of the treatment.

The Department has received a number of written representations about the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy cancer treatment from the charity Killing Cancer.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has issued guidance on the use of PDT in the treatment of several cancers.

It is for the national health service at a local level to decide whether to offer this treatment to patients.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission research on the efficacy of photodynamic therapy; and if he will make a statement. (200441)

The Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is investing £1 million in a study to gather evidence on the clinical and cost effectiveness of photodynamic therapy for people with age-related macular degeneration.

In addition, two of the NIHR biomedical research centres established in 2007 will be undertaking research concerned with the use of photodynamic therapy. At the University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, the photodynamic therapy research will form part of a gastroenterology and hepatology research theme to which £5 million has been allocated over five years. At the Moorfields Eye Hospital Biomedical Research Centre it will be part of a programme of research to do with age-related macular degeneration to which £2.9 million has been allocated over five years.

The Department is also providing national health service support for two trials of photodynamic therapy for biliary tract cancers through the NIHR Cancer Research Network, and for two trials of photodynamic therapy for cancer of the gullet (oesophagus) through the joint Cancer Research UK/NIHR Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre at University College Hospital London.

The Medical Research Council has in the last six years funded two studies relating to photodynamic therapy at a total cost of £300,000.