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Mesothelioma: Research

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on research into mesothelioma in each of the last five years; and how much it plans to spend on such research in each of the next three years. (256979)

Over the last 10 years, the main part of the Department’s research and development budget has been allocated to and managed by national health service organisations. Those organisations have accounted for their use of the allocations they have received from the Department in an annual research and development report. The reports identify total, aggregated expenditure on national priority areas, including cancer. They do not provide details of research into particular cancer sites.

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI), a UK-wide partnership between Government, charities and industry, makes cancer research information available online via the international cancer research portfolio database at:

www.cancerportfolio.org

Details of current departmental and Medical Research Council (MRC) site-specific cancer research can be found through this database.

The MRC is one of the main agencies through which the Government support biomedical research. The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

MRC expenditure over the last 10 years on lung cancer research, including research relating to mesothelioma, has been as follows:

£ million

1998-99

0.3

1999-2000

0.2

2000-01

0.6

2001-02

1.6

2002-03

1.8

2003-04

2.1

2004-05

1.5

2005-06

1.6

2006-07

2.1

2007-08

2

These figures include funding to the MRC Clinical Trials Unit for the clinical trials in lung cancer programme which included support for the MS01 trial (active symptom control with or without chemotherapy for patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma).

The usual practice of the Department’s National Institute for Health Research and of the MRC is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. Future levels of expenditure on lung cancer research will be determined by the success of relevant bids for funding.