Letter: Effective funding of medical research

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The Independent Online
Sir: Further discussion about the role of charities in funding medical research is to be welcomed. But the fact that the largest and most well-known charities are concerned with diseases such as cancer or heart disease does not mean that there is no important charitable research funding of other diseases, for example, Aids.

There are many smaller charities, such as Avert (the Aids Education & Research Trust), which has for the past six years been funding research into Aids. Smaller research charities often have difficulty raising funds because they cannot get publicity for their work.

They do not have the promotional and advertising budgets of the larger charities, and in certain areas such as Aids may have great difficulty in getting people to support their work publicly.

But the value of a charity's work should not be judged just by its size and the number of projects it funds. The type of project that is funded is often just as important. Charities, particularly the smaller ones, can often be more flexible in their approach, and can fund the innovative and exciting projects that may well be turned down by government bodies, and which may not be financially attractive enough to be funded by a pharmaceutical company.

If medical research in the UK is going to continue to be successful, we need increased funding not only from the government, but also from charities and industry.

Yours faithfully,

ANNABEL KANABUS

Trustee, Aids Education

& Research Trust

Horsham,

West Sussex

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