Cancer: Research

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered am ar 8 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Llafur

To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will establish targeted funding to prioritise and drive research investment into pancreatic cancer and the other less survivable cancers.

Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Llafur

To ask His Majesty's Government whether they will encourage the National Institute for Health and Care Research to rigorously evaluate existing research efforts and review how they can further prioritise and drive research investment for pancreatic cancer and other less survivable cancers.

Photo of Lord Markham Lord Markham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Research is crucial in the fight against cancer, which is why the Department invests £1 billion per year in health research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). NIHR research expenditure for all cancers was £121 million for 2022/23.

In terms of establishing targeted funding into pancreatic cancer, the NIHR funds research in response to proposals received from scientists rather than allocating funding to specific disease areas. It is not usual practice to ring-fence funds for particular topics or conditions. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money, and scientific quality.

The Government, through the NIHR, is committed to improving research into pancreatic cancer and cancers with the poorest survival rates by funding high quality, timely research that leads to improved outcomes for patients and the public, and makes the health and social care system more efficient, effective, and safe. Research evidence is vital for improving treatments and outcomes for people, including those with pancreatic cancer and other less survivable cancers.

In 2023, the Government awarded £2 million to new interdisciplinary research teams tackling hard to treat cancers, via the Medical Research Council, which hosted a two-day cancer sandpit strategic funding opportunity, focused on technological innovation for understanding cancers with the poorest survival rates.

The NIHR has funded seven research projects for pancreatic cancer for the period 2019 to 2023, with a total committed spend of approximately £3.6 million. The NIHR also supports the delivery of pancreatic cancer research funded by those in the charity and public sectors. For example, since 2019, the NIHR Clinical Research Network has supported over 70 pancreatic cancer-related studies.

The NIHR continues to encourage and welcome applications for research into any aspect of human health, including pancreatic cancer. All applications are assessed for funding by peer review committees. The level of research spend in a particular area is driven by factors including the quality of the proposals and their scientific potential. All applications for research into pancreatic cancer and other less survivable cancers made through open competition have been funded.

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