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Muscular Dystrophy

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how much was spent on research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy in each of the last 10 years; (212430)

(2) what plans he has to fund research and clinical trials into Duchenne muscular dystrophy for the next three years.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government supports medical and clinical research. MRC spend on research relevant to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) since 1997 is shown in the following table.

£ million

1997-98

0.5

1998-99

0.5

1999-2000

0.6

2000-01

1.3

2001-02

2

2002-03

1.8

2003-04

2.4

2004-05

2.0

2005-06

2.1

2006-07

1.7

Much of the muscular dystrophy research supported by the MRC is on-going.

Over the last 10 years, the main part of the Department’s total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by national health service organisations. Details of individual NHS supported research projects undertaken during that time, including a number concerned with DMD, are available on the archived national research register at:

https://portal.nihr.ac.uk/Pages/NRRArchiveSearch.aspx

The Department has additionally provided £1.6 million for a four year project aimed at developing a new treatment for DMD; and through its Policy Research Programme is funding a £1.1 million long term neurological condition research initiative. One of the studies commissioned as part of the initiative is specifically concerned with DMD.

Implementation of the Department’s research strategy “Best Research for Best Health” and the establishment of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) has resulted in an expansion of our research programmes and in significant new funding opportunities. Two of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres formed last year—at Imperial College and at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Institute for Child Health—plan over the next five years to undertake research on DMD therapy.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent assessment he has made of the availability of new (a) drugs and (b) treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy; (212432)

(2) what recent estimate he has made of the number of people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

We have made no recent estimate of the number of people with this condition.

While there are several drugs undergoing clinical trials around the world, there are currently no drugs available for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.