Parkinson’s Disease

Business, Energy and Industrial strategy – in the House of Commons on 22nd February 2022.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

What steps his Department is taking to support research into Parkinson’s disease.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s question on the importance of research into neurodegeneration and Parkinson’s, a cause I was proud to champion as Minister for life sciences. We are investing £20 million a year, including £14.8 million through UK Research and Innovation and another £6 million through the National Institute for Health Research. We continue to fund the UK Dementia Research Institute, and in the autumn we announced another £375 million for neurodegenerative diseases over the next three years.

Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

More than 150,000 people in the UK will have Parkinson’s by 2030. Parkinson’s UK is clear that, to accelerate the search for a cure, research must be supported by improved infrastructure, including the use of digital technology and better clinical trial design. Will the Minister meet me and Parkinson’s UK to discuss how its proposal for a challenge fund could help to defeat Parkinson’s?

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Yes, I would be delighted to meet the hon. Gentleman. He makes an important point. The truth is that the next frontier in neurodegenerative science will be a mixture of neural pathways, neural mapping, digital science and deep-tissue phenomic and genomic science, which is why I was recently in Switzerland at the institute of neuroscience in Lucerne to see whether we can establish a collaboration.