35164 - Mesothelioma: Research (Answered)

Steve Rotheram
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department has taken to support research into mesothelioma.

George Freeman

The Government agrees that more mesothelioma research is needed and has taken measures to stimulate an increase in the level of research activity.

Patients, carers, clinicians and funders have worked in partnership to identify what the priorities in research are. Following a survey and a workshop, the top 10 mesothelioma research priorities were announced in December 2014. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) published a final report from the Priority Setting Partnership in July 2015. In advance of the identification of research questions by this partnership, the NIHR highlighted to the research community that it wanted to encourage research applications in mesothelioma.

The NIHR subsequently invited researchers to apply for mesothelioma research funding, in particular to address the research questions identified through the partnership. Eight NIHR programmes participated in this themed call. Fifteen individual applications were received, of which two have been approved for funding.

In addition, the NIHR Research Design Service continues to be able to help prospective applicants develop competitive research proposals. This service is well-established and has

10 regional bases across England. It supports researchers to develop and design high-quality proposals for submission to NIHR itself and also to other national, peer-reviewed funding competitions for applied health or social care research.

The National Cancer Research Institute is facilitating ongoing dialogue between relevant research funders on the topic of mesothelioma, to discuss what the barriers to research are and what is needed to stimulate research in the field.

The Chancellor’s Budget Report committed £5 million of LIBOR fines over the next four years for the National Mesothelioma Centre.

The Department has received recent representations relating to funding of mesothelioma research from the Asbestos Victims Support Groups’ Forum UK and from several hon. Members on behalf of constituents.