Medicine: Research

Department of Health written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Helen Jones Helen Jones Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate he has made of the total amount spent from government sources on research into (a) stroke, (b) cancer and (c) coronary heart disease.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Spend on research funded directly by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is categorised by Health Research Classification System health categories. NIHR expenditure on research infrastructure and systems where spend cannot be attributed to health categories is excluded. In 2013/14, the NIHR spent £26.3 million in the category ‘stroke’, £129.9 million in the category ‘cancer’, and £46.3 million in the category ‘cardiovascular’ (including coronary heart disease - CHD).

Research Councils UK has provided the following information on expenditure in 2013/14.

£000s

Stroke

Cancer

CHD

Arts and Humanities Research Council

-

34

-

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

323

10,269

1,829

Economic and Social Research Council

1,376

2,177

1,205

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

-

-

-

Medical Research Council (MRC)

4,140

79,900

26,300

Natural Environment Research Council

-

-

-

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

-

395

-

The BBSRC does not fund research directly relating to understanding/treating specific human diseases. The underpinning health research that the BBSRC supports seeks to provide a better understanding of what makes a healthy biological system - and the key moderators of this health (both positive and negative) – and also informs strategies to help maintain resilient health across the life-course and reduce the risk of emergence of diseases typically associated with age-related health decline. In the context of stroke/cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer this may include basic bioscience of angiogenesis/tissue repair, inflammation, cell cycle/signalling/molecular transport, and immune system functioning, and how these processes operate and are influenced (e.g. by genetics and environmental factors such as diet and exercise) across the lifecourse. The BBSRC figures provided are based on examples where specific linkages can be made from the basic bioscience to potential applicability to stroke/CVD and cancer research, but there will be a wider body of more indirectly linked bioscience that may also contribute to developing important baseline understanding.

The EPSRC invested £59 million in 2013/14 in research to develop new technologies that have applications across healthcare from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation, and also supports a much wider portfolio of research that underpins advances in medical science. The EPSRC supports basic research which delivers new techniques and technologies, ultimately delivering solutions that underpin the healthcare and life sciences sector, including the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries and the National Health Service. Around 25% of the £4 billion EPSRC portfolio is of relevance to healthcare and the life sciences.

MRC cancer research expenditure shown in the table is taken from National Cancer Research Institute data for 2013.

In addition to the expenditure shown in the table, the STFC also makes support available through its large facilities. For instance, cancer-related research is carried out using ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) in support of the University of Liverpool, who have an EPSRC grant. The grant pays the marginal staff cost and the running cost of the ALICE facility.

In 2013/14 Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency has invested in research concerning stroke, cancer and CHD. The following table details spend for each condition. Figures include research into detection technologies and post-surgery therapies.

£000s

Stroke

Cancer

CHD

Innovate UK

972

18,728

345

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