The first ever comprehensive breakdown of how medical research money is spent has been drawn up, reopening the debate about if the priorities are right.
The analysis looked at 80% of UK research
Cancer receives by far the greatest proportion of funding, nearly three times more than cardiovascular disease which is the UK's biggest killer.
The UK Clinical Research Collaboration study also identified what types of research money went on.
A third went on finding the cause of disease, compared to 5% on diagnosis.
The UK Clinical Research Collaboration was set up two years ago by government and the research industry to keep track of medical research in the UK.
They looked at research data from the 11 largest funding organisations, including the government, Medical Research Council and Cancer Research UK.
The groups funded 9,500 research projects worth £950m - 80% of the total UK funding market - in 2004-5.
Two thirds was spent on four disease areas - cancer (27%), neurological (16%), infection (13%) and cardiovascular (9%).
For most diseases, the burden of the condition - measured as the estimated years lost due to early death - outstripped spending apart from for cancer, reproductive health and infection.
In comparison, cardiovascular disease was responsible for nearly a fifth of the burden of health, yet got less than a tenth of the funding.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, said spending on cardiovascular research was "less than you might anticipate".
"This confirms what we already know, that there's still much more work to be done."
But Dr Aoife Regan, of the National Cancer Research Institute, which represents the leading cancer charities and government, said it depended on how disease was interpreted.
"One in three people will get cancer and one in four will die from it. If you look at it like that, spending is what you would expect."
The analysis also looked at what type of research money was spent on. Basic research and looking for the causes of disease were the largest, taking up a third of spending.
Treatment received 17% - split evenly between evaluation and development - while diagnosis got 5.2%, followed by 4.8% on looking at how health services deliver care.
Where money was spent geographically was also measured. London came out top with a third going to its research institutions.
Cambridge and Oxford got a fifth of the funding between them, while just under a fifth was spent outside England in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Liam O'Toole, chief executive of the body behind the analysis, said: "We believe this is the first time an exercise on this scale has been carried out anywhere in the world.
"What it gives us is a unique and important picture of health research funding in the UK which can be used to inform individual and joint research planning."