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Issue:- 20 June 2013

Celebrate 100 years of medical breakthroughs funded by you

50% of people in the North West don't know their taxes fund medical research in the UK, according to a new YouGov survey run by the UK's oldest research Council, the Medical Research Council (MRC). The results of the on-line survey of 2,190 adults in the UK were announced today on the official one hundredth birthday of the MRC, which boasts 29 Nobel Prize winners and a host of medical breakthroughs, all funded by the public purse.

To celebrate 100 years of life-saving science, MRC research centres up and down the UK are opening their doors - inviting the public in or bringing their science out to local communities to showcase the fruits of their labour. A range of different events, talks, experiments and exhibitions will be held today and over the next two weeks to tell the hidden story of health improvements funded by the taxpayer through the MRC and to introduce the remarkable scientists who make it all happen.

Of the 150 people asked in Liverpool, only 23% of people said they've met a medical research scientist, despite the fact that life changing science often happens right on their doorstep. When asked which disease or condition they would study if they were a medical research scientist, people in the North West gave a full spectrum of issues close to their heart, with cancer and dementia being the most common.

Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said;- "It's important for people to know how crucial their own money has been in uncovering health improvements that have saved millions of lives. If I asked the person on the street, 'did you know you've helped invent the MRI scanner and DNA fingerprinting, or helped make skin grafts work or proved the link between smoking and cancer?' … he'd probably look blankly at me. And these discoveries are just the tip of the iceberg of what the taxpayer has funded - through the MRC; over the course of its history. On the MRC's 100 year birthday today, I'd like everyone to celebrate their own contribution to making the UK a world leader in medical research. Long may MRC-funded research continue to have such an impact on the health and wealth of the UK and beyond."

In Liverpool, the MRC Centre for Drug Safety Science is holding a series of public exhibitions, talks and films at the historic Victoria Gallery and Museum on 20 June 2013. Scientists will be on hand to demonstrate the global impact of medical research in areas such as ageing, arthritis, drug safety science, genomics research and personalised medicine. Find out more about the role of medical science in society and how MRC research is helping to improve the health of people in Merseyside, the UK and the world. Watch a film for a unique insight into our labs and hospitals, and a behind the scenes look at how our scientists investigate drug safety. Detailed information of the range of events happening in locations across the UK are available online.

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