§ Mr. Pawsey
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will publish in the Official Report current expenditure on research on each of the following: multiple sclerosis and Huntington's chorea; and if he will make a statement on the progress of research and future plans for expenditure.
§ Sir George Young
The Medical Research Council is the main Government-funded body supporting such research, through funds provided by the Department of Education and Science and the Health Departments. In 1979–80 the latest year for which figures are available, the 627W council spent £705,156 on research in to multiple sclerosis and £75,280 for projects relevant to Huntington's chorea. Expenditure on Huntington's chorea is expected to increase to about £240,000 for 1980–81.
A clinical trial of intensive immuno-suppression therapy in multiple sclerosis is in progres at Northwick Park hospital. Results to date indicate a possible slowing of the disease in females though the final report must be awaited before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
Work in Australia on transfer factor has also produced interesting results. The Medical Research Council's multiple sclerosis co-ordinating group is currently discussing the significance of the results of these two trials and the scientific case for carrying out further trials.
Research into Huntington's chorea is in progress at the clinical research centre, Northwick Park. Investigations are continuing to determine whether an agent in the cerebro-spinal fluid is secondary to the disease process or whether a causal relation exists.
The Department is giving £15,000 in the current financial year—1980–81—to the Association to Combat Huntington's chorea; and will help the association continue its work of providing support for families in which there is a sufferer and informing and educating both professionals and the public on various aspects of the disease.
In addition, the Department is supporting a project at the Welsh National School of Medicine on the long-term prevention of Huntington's chorea costing £14,000 in 1980–81.