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Volume 502: debated on Thursday 10 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy that monoclonal antibody therapy is available to NHS patients diagnosed with neuroblastoma. (305803)

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has not issued any guidance on monoclonal antibody therapy for the treatment of neuroblastoma.

In the absence of NICE guidance, it is a matter for local national health service organisations to decide whether to fund a particular drug or treatment. The NHS Constitution gives patients the right to expect local funding decisions on the availability of drugs and treatments to be made rationally following consideration of the available evidence.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his estimate is of the number of children who have neuroblastoma. (305804)

Information on the number of patients with neuroblastoma (prevalence) is not held centrally, nor has any estimate been made.

However, the following table shows the number of children and young people aged 19 and under diagnosed with an unspecified adrenal gland cancer, which could include neuroblastoma, during 2007. This is the latest year for which incidence data are available.

Registrations of newly diagnosed cases of adrenal gland, unspecified cancer1, in persons aged 19 years and under by age group in England2 during 20073

Age of person diagnosed (years)

Number of cancers diagnosed

Less than 1










1 Adrenal gland, unspecified cancer (including neuroblastoma) is coded as C74.9 in the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

2 Based on boundaries as of 2009.

3 Newly diagnosed cases registered in 2007.

4 For young people aged 15-19, the reported incidence levels indicate less than three individuals. Due to this small cell count, the data have been suppressed to avoid the risk of disclosure.


Office for National Statistics

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much the Government have allocated to research to find a cure for neuroblastoma. (305805)

The Department's National Institute for Health Research is undertaking translational research specifically concerned with neuroblastoma at two of its Biomedical Research Centres; and via its national cancer research network is currently supporting some nine studies into the condition. The Department has additionally invested over £1 million in experimental cancer medicine centres specifically to support early-phase clinical trials for children with cancer, including trials for children with neuroblastoma. It is not possible to disaggregate the cost of these research activities.