Our response to The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy

Yesterday the UK Government published the recommendations of an independent review of the UK Life Sciences industry

The review was launched in January alongside the development of the Industrial Strategy with the aim of building the UK's life science industry into “a global hub that makes the UK the home of clinical research and medical innovation".

There's a number of recommendations which have relevance to our work, which are as follows:

  • Data – The Strategy sets out an aim for the UK to become “world leading in the use of health data for research," by establishing clear national data standards and governance structures to facilitate greater access to data for researchers. It also recommends that NHS Digital & NHS England should set consistent national approaches to data standards and access.
  • Clinical Trials - The Strategy aims to increase the number of clinical trials by 50% over the next five years, by improving the speed and efficiency of UK clinical trial capabilities so that the UK can best compete globally in our support for industry and academic studies at all phases.
  • Innovation – The Strategy supports the adoption of the Accelerated Access Review (AAR), which was published by the UK Government in October 2016. The Review included recommendations to explore trialling cancer medicines at early stage disease where quality of life benefits may be more easily demonstrated.
  • Brexit – The Strategy calls for establishing a migration system “that allows rapid recruitment and retention of highly skilled workers from the EU and beyond," allowing the UK to recruit the best international talent in the life sciences. It also proposes creating a “Skills Action Plan" to address skills gaps for science across the NHS, commercial and third sectors.
  • Charity funding – The Strategy recommends that the Government should incentivise charitable contributions to medical research by supporting the Charity Research Support Fund (CRSF). The Government's contribution to the CRSF has fallen significantly in real terms in recent years, at the same time as charity spending has risen, making it difficult for institutions who undertake charity-funded research to cover costs.

The unlocking of data in an appropriate and managed fashion is a very prominent theme within the strategy.

We support the recommendations to make data more freely available for researchers, and the ultimate goal of improving the quality and depth of future studies.

At The Brain Tumour Charity, we recently launched our very own world-first patient Databank which will revolutionise the way brain tumour data is used worldwide.

We recognise the importance of working with industry, the NHS, academic institutions and other stakeholders to deliver better patient outcomes as quickly as possible. Therefore, we welcome the proposals outlined.

We look forward to seeing further detail from Government on the implementation of these proposals, and also await clarification on the important issue of how the UK's withdrawal from the European Union will affect the attraction and retention of skilled people in the life sciences sector.

You can read more about our views on the key issues facing our Charity around the UK leaving the European Union here.

The Life Sciences Industrial Strategy can be found accessed in full here.