Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Charles asks the Health Secretary to increase research funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to increase the funding for research to find treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy; and if she will make a statement. [6062]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 21 June 2005]: The main agency through which the Government support medical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). It is a long-standing and important principle, held to by successive administrations, that the Government do not prescribe how individual research councils should distribute their resources between competing priorities. In 2003-04, the MRC spent some £2.4 million on research relevant to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).In March 2004, my right hon. Friend, the Member for Hamilton, North and Bellshill, (Dr. Reid), announced an award of £1.6 million over three years to fund gene therapy research for DMD. This is pioneering research and it is not possible to know in advance of completion of the preliminary work already funded by the Department whether this approach is likely to be successful. We look forward to receiving progress reports from the DMD research consortium in due course. "