Marie Curie Cancer Care revamps research 09/03/09
Marie Curie Cancer Care is planning a significant shift in its research activities so it can invest more in research into end of life care and place less emphasis on fundamental scientific research.

Around £400m is spent every year in the UK on research into cancer prevention and cure, with less than £20m spent on end of life research.

In its recently published strategy for end of life care in England, the Government said ‘more research is needed on all aspects of end of life care and on care given in different locations.’

At a meeting of the charity’s trustees recently, it was decided to hold a full review of Marie Curie’s current research activities - with particular focus on the balance between future research into cure and care.

The move has been welcomed by Professor Mike Richards, national clinical director for cancer, who said: “Marie Curie Cancer Care has a significant track record for its research as well as for its nursing care. Today’s announcement of its future strategy will help ensure that the Government’s End of Life Care Strategy will be implemented fully and effectively.”

Thomas Hughes-Hallett, chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, said: “Very significant investment is made by many charities into the cure for cancer, but so little is being invested in better care for patients at the end of their lives.

“Our experience of supporting patients and their families over the last 60 years convinces us that more research now needs to be done to understand how best to improve that support.

“As a charity we believe there is a pressing need to address this imbalance and we think Marie Curie is best placed to do this. It is the care of these patients and their families which is at the heart of our charity’s strategy."

The review is likely to involve change in the type of research undertaken, with less emphasis on fundamental scientific research and more emphasis on research in end of life care.

Marie Curie Cancer Care already has significant experience in end of life research, playinga key role in initiatives such as the development of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying.

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