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Health: Research

Volume 704: debated on Monday 13 October 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Lord Triesman on 29 October 2007 (WA 144), 12 November 2007 (WA 1) and 12 December 2007 (WA 58) regarding funding of research, and by Lord Darzi of Denham on 10 January 2008 (WA 216) regarding compliance with the February 2004 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines by the Newcastle primary care trust, what progress has been made in the relevant research; and what are the primary objectives of funding by the Medical Research Council and primary care trusts with regard to healthcare provision. [HL5311]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority placed the latest inspection report of this research project on its website on 1 October 2008 at www.hfea.gov.uk/en/1368.html#17. The research project is RO152. Section 5 of the report outlines the progress of the project and the use of eggs.

The primary objective of the funding provided by the Medical Research Council (MRC) is to support the aim of the project, which is to find ways of improving the efficiency of therapeutic cloning, a technique which would allow scientists to create patient-specific stem cells and develop regenerative therapies for many debilitating conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and Parkinson's disease. The MRC requires that only surplus eggs are to be used for the research, and the donor's treatment for infertility is unaffected by her decision to share eggs.

The primary objective of primary care trusts is to engage with their local populations to improve health and well-being and commission a comprehensive and equitable range of high quality, responsive and efficient services within allocated resources.