Lord Drayson debates involving the Department for Science, Innovation & Technology during the 2019 Parliament

Cancer Research: Funding Gap

Lord Drayson Excerpts
Monday 29th January 2024

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Viscount Camrose Portrait Viscount Camrose (Con)
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Indeed: it is so important to have not only a cross-government approach but a cross-sectoral approach. The Government work closely with academic, industry, charitable and other stakeholders. The crux of this is the healthcare missions of the Office for Life Sciences. The OLS cancer mission aims to show leadership in oncology innovation by developing further the approach first successfully used in the Vaccine Taskforce. Among other things, it has implemented the UK cancer research strategy forum, which brings together bodies of all kinds that are active in cancer research to ensure that they are effectively co-ordinated in today’s research and in future directions.

Lord Drayson Portrait Lord Drayson (Lab)
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My Lords, UK citizens willingly volunteer to allow excellent initiatives such as UK Biobank, Genomics England and Our Future Health to generate databases of health data that are excellent for cancer research. These databases are a sovereign UK asset funded by taxpayers, yet we allow the IP to leak abroad without any meaningful contribution to Treasury coffers. When will the Government implement an effective commercialisation policy to ensure that this leakage of wealth is stopped and directed to help fund cancer research?

Viscount Camrose Portrait Viscount Camrose (Con)
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I cannot comment directly on leakage of either information or wealth. I noted with great interest the latest report of the Tony Blair Institute that was publicised over the weekend, which argued that we should put our healthcare data on a commercial setting for this purpose. I am not familiar with any individual allegation of leakage or undue movement of data out of the country, but I am willing to look into it and take it up with ministerial colleagues.