Nutritional research education funding statistics instead of animal testing of drugs

Jan Foster made this Freedom of Information request to Medical Research Council

The request was successful.

From: Jan Foster

1 January 2012

Dear Medical Research Council,

I would like to know why funding is not given for nutritional
research of foods to address the Nation's health issues, instead of
reliance and funding for drug production tested on animals.

Could it be because the MRC has funding from the Pharmaceutical
industry and it is not in their best interest to inform the Nation
how to treat themselves via correct food consumption?

Take cancer. Is is not a fact known to the medical world that
tumours are unable to live in the body in an oxygen rich pH of 8,
alkaline?

Why does the MRC does not inform the public about this vital fact
that to keep us healthy, our bodies should be kept alkaline not
acidic through correct eating patterns?

It would certainly save the NHS money if each of us were
responsible for our own health via the MRC promoting and educating
the public as to which foods created alkaline conditions and the
best way these foods should be part of our health regime.

Yours faithfully,
Jan Foster

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From: foi
Medical Research Council

1 January 2012

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Any messages received during this time will not be seen until 3rd January
when the office reopens.

Yours faithfully,

MRC Freedom of Information Officer

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From: foi
Medical Research Council

4 January 2012

Dear Mrs Foster,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request.

We will look into what information we have available and get back to you.

Yours Sincerely,

Tiffany

Tiffany Lay
Senior Information Officer
Medical Research Council

www.mrc.ac.uk

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From: foi
Medical Research Council

23 January 2012

Dear Mrs Foster,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request relating to research on
nutrition.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is funded by the UK taxpayer to support
the best scientific research to improve human health in universities and
hospitals, in our own units, centres and institutes in the UK, and in our
units in Africa.

The research we fund covers the entire spectrum of medical sciences and
the MRC does support a broad portfolio of research relating to food and
nutrition; this amounted to £21.6 million in 2009/10, including research
relating to diet and health. We also supports a large number of research
programmes relating to cancer; in 2010 overall MRC expenditure on cancer
was £107.9m (source: National Cancer Research Institute) which includes
underpinning research as well as research on cancer at specific sites.

Around half of the research supported by the MRC is undertaken within our
own research units and institutes, a number of which focus on the areas
you are interested in. Details of the MRC's units, centres and institutes
can be found on our website at:
[1]http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Ourresearch/Unitsce...
Units with a focus that may be of interest to you are listed below:
-  Human Nutrition Research, Cambridge ([2]http://www.mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk/).
-  MRC Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge ([3]http://www.mrc-epid.cam.ac.uk/).
-  MRC Centre in Obesity and Related Metabolic Diseases, Cambridge
([4]http://www.mrc-cord.org/about/).
-  MRC Centre for Nutritional Epidemiology in Cancer Prevention and
Survival (CNC), ([5]http://www.srl.cam.ac.uk/cnc/).

More information on MRC research funding, including details of research
grants, fellowships and MRC unit research programmes can be found on our
website at: [6]http://www.mrc.ac.uk/ResearchPortfolio/i... I have
highlighted two studies addressing both diet and cancer, which you may
find of interest:
-  Professor K Khaw, University of Cambridge: Diet, lifestyle and
biological determinants of health and chronic diseases: the EPIC-Norfolk
Prospective population study.  Details can be found at:
[7]http://www.mrc.ac.uk/ResearchPortfolio/G...
-  Dr G Mishra, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing: Life course
lifestyles and social environment in relation to health, health related
quality of life and survival.  Details can be found at:
[8]http://www.mrc.ac.uk/ResearchPortfolio/G....

While the MRC does work hard to ensure that the findings of the research
we support are available to the research community, policy makers and to
the public, it is not within our remit to provide advice to the public on
healthcare, lifestyle and nutrition. There are a number of other
government bodies and agencies which have this role including the Food
Standards Agency ([9]http://www.food.gov.uk/), the National Institute for
Clinical Excellence ([10]http://www.nice.org.uk/) and the wider National
Health Service ([11]http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx). 

In your request you mention funding from pharmaceutical companies. As
noted above the MRC is primarily funded by UK taxpayers; in 2009/10 the
MRC's total budget was £698.2 million the majority of which was from the
Department for Business Innovation and Skills.  We do also receive funding
from other government departments, other research councils, research
charities and other organisations to take forward joint initiatives or
collaborative research and to support research grants awarded to MRC units
and institutes.  Partnerships and research collaboration with the
pharmaceutical sector are essential in supporting the translation of
research findings into effective treatments.  At present, we support
collaborative research with over 80 companies, ranging from large
pharmaceutical companies to biosciences and healthcare companies.  Further
details of this collaborative work can be found at:
[12]http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Ourresearch/MRCIndu....
 
I hope that you find this information useful and that this response
addresses the issues you wished to raise.  If you have any questions, or
would like any further information, please do let me know.

However, if you are not satisfied that this response has been handled
appropriately, you may appeal using the MRC's complaints procedure.
Details are on the MRC website at:
[13]www.mrc.ac.uk/index/about/about-contact/about-complaints_procedure.htm. 
You may contact the MRC Complaints Officer by email at
[14][email address] or write to The Complaints
Officer, Medical Research Council, 14th Floor, One Kemble Street, London
WC2B 4AN.

If, following the Complaints Officer's reply, you remain dissatisfied, you
may contact the Information Commissioner.  Details of how to take your
complaint further are at [15]www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.

Yours Sincerely,

Tiffany

Tiffany Lay
Senior Information Officer
Medical Research Council

[16]www.mrc.ac.uk

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From: Jan Foster

6 February 2012

Dear Ms Lay,
Thank you for your response to my FOI letter and I have carefully
examined the various websites you list in replying to my initial
question.

Whilst some sites you list are informative regarding nutritional
research, you have not fully addressed the animal testing issue.
This seems to have been glossed over.

For information I refer you to www.animalaid.org.uk

As does the comment I made regarding the pH acid/alkaline balance
in the body.

I refer you to www.stopcancer.com/ottolecture.htm This concerns the
Nobel Prize winner (1931), Dr.Otto Warburg.

There are eminent scientists and organisation that do not use
animals in testing. www.drhadwentrust.org are just one.

Furthermore, www.InterNICHE are concerned with non animal testing
and ethical issues with a view to educating.

These are just a few organisations concerned with the plight of
unconsenting animals used in experimentation.

I would be interested to hear your response once you have
familiarised yourself with the above websites.

Yours sincerely,

Jan Foster

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From: foi
Medical Research Council

7 February 2012

Dear Mrs Foster,

Thank you for your message of 06 February 2012.

The Medical Research Council are considering the issues that you have raised
and will contact you again shortly.

Yours Sincerely,

Tiffany

Tiffany Lay
Senior Information Officer
Medical Research Council

www.mrc.ac.uk

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From: foi
Medical Research Council

23 February 2012

Dear Ms Foster,

Thank you for your follow up to our response. I will address the two points
that you raise in turn.

Whilst some sites you list are informative regarding nutritional
research, you have not fully addressed the animal testing issue.
This seems to have been glossed over.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) recognises that the use of animals is
essential for progress in some areas of medical research, and will remain so
for the foreseeable future. It is a legal requirement in the UK not to use
animals in research where alternatives exist, and MRC requires all
scientists applying for funding for research involving animals to justify
carefully the use of animals and explain why there is no alternative. More
about our policies on animal research can be found on our web site at
http://www.mrc.ac.uk/Ourresearch/Ethicsr...
tm and more general information on the importance of animals in research can
be found on the Understanding Animal Research web site at www.uar.org.uk.
The MRC strongly supports the development of alternatives to reduce, replace
and refine animal use where possible, and are one of the main funders of the
National Centre for the 3Rs (www.nc3rs.org.uk).

As does the comment I made regarding the pH acid/alkaline balance
in the body.

Your original comment was: Take cancer. Is is not a fact known to the
medical world that tumours are unable to live in the body in an oxygen rich
pH of 8, alkaline? Why does the MRC does not inform the public about this
vital fact that to keep us healthy, our bodies should be kept alkaline not
acidic through correct eating patterns?

The MRC are not in a position to comment on research relating to tumour
survival in an oxygen rich, high pH environment; it is not appropriate for
the MRC to comment on specific matters of a detailed scientific nature. The
MRC invests in a broad spectrum of research in cancer biology and the
validity of findings and hypotheses are evaluated through the peer-reviewed
scientific press.

The role of the MRC is to support excellent research in response to
proposals from the biomedical research community which aim to improve human
health. We do this through supporting a range of grants and personal awards
to scientists in universities, medical schools and other research
institutes. The MRC does not normally commission research to address
specific questions, details of how the MRC funds research can be found at:
www.mrc.ac.uk/Fundingopportunities/index....

I hope that you find this information useful and that this response
addresses the issues you wished to raise. If you have any questions, or
would like any further information, please let me know.

However, if you are not satisfied that this response has been handled
appropriately, you may appeal using the MRC's complaints procedure. Details
are on the MRC website at:
www.mrc.ac.uk/index/about/about-contact/.... You
may contact the MRC Complaints Officer by email at
[email address] or write to The Complaints Officer,
Medical Research Council, 14th Floor, One Kemble Street, London WC2B 4AN.

If, following the Complaints Officer's reply, you remain dissatisfied, you
may contact the Information Commissioner. Details of how to take your
complaint further are at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk.

Yours Sincerely,

Rosa Parker

Corporate Information and Policy Manager
Medical Research Council

www.mrc.ac.uk

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