Charity involvement central to government’s 10-year vision to improve medical research, say ministers

Charities are to work in partnership with public, private and academic sectors on a 10-year strategy to “solve some of the biggest healthcare problems of our generation”, says the government.

The Department of Health and Social Care has pledged to involve medical research charities in delivering its Life Sciences Vision.

The 10-year strategy aims to build on the Covid-19 vaccination programme and accelerate research into a raft of treatments.

Dementia , cancer, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, respiratory disease and mental health have been earmarked as priorities for the strategy, which is is being backed by £1bn in investment for life science companies.

Another focus of the strategy that will involve charities is to improve diversity in clinical research.

“System partners, including the medical research charities, will work together to proactively increase the racial, age, gender, and geographic diversity of clinical trial participants and those in real world data sets,” says the strategy.

Life Sciences Vision has been welcomed by medical charities, including Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which have been involved in developing the strategy.

“Developing the Life Sciences Vision together has been the first step of what I hope will see cancer research strengthened and bring improvements for people with cancer,” said CRUK chief executive Michelle Mitchell.

“We’re pleased to see the commitments made to boosting early diagnosis and treatment for cancer, areas that we have pioneered as we know they will make a big impact for patients.

“We look forward to working with government and the life sciences sector to make this vision a reality. Backed by the right investment, this vision will set the UK apart as a world leader in life sciences and cancer research, which will drive scientific innovation and, ultimately, save lives.”

BHF medical director Nilesh Samani added: “The life science sector’s response to the pandemic has shown that unimaginable progress is possible when the research community unites behind a common goal and unleashes the full potential and capability that exists in the UK across NHS, academia and industry, supported by government and medical research charities.

“By bottling this approach, this Vision could set the stage for the rapid development of new ways of preventing and treating heart diseases as well as the conditions that cause them, such as obesity.”

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