MPs across the political divide are calling on ministers to rethink the treatment for the childhood cancer that killed Bradley Lowery, saying raising funds for specialist medical care puts huge pressures on families.

The campaign has been backed by parents of the six-year-old of Blackhall, east Durham, who touched the hearts of millions in his fight against neuroblastoma.

Gemma and Carl Lowery raised more than £700,000 to pay for him to be given pioneering antibody treatment in New York, only to be told his cancer had grown and was terminal.

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Mrs Lowery said: "We are fighting to have antibody treatment available on the NHS. It can be expensive and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has yet to decide whether or not it is going to fund it.

"Statistics show there is 80 per cent chance of relapse after initial treatment if the patient does not have the antibody treatment.

"It can improve to 50 to 60 per cent if you do have the antibodies. A 20 per cent difference may not sound like a lot, but when you are the parent of a child with neuroblastoma that is a big percentage to us."

The parents of Fraja Simpson of Leeming, near Bedale, also faced the stress of raising £500,000 in case of a relapse as she underwent gruelling treatment for MYCA-amplified neuroblastoma, which she was diagnosed with aged four.

Fundraisers from County Durham and North Yorkshire rallied around Michelle and Garry Simpson, who moved to Australia with their family after Fraja was given the all-clear, but the parents spoke of how difficult it was spending time fundraising while wanting to spend time with their daughter.

The issue was raised in the House of Commons by Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng, who said the existing policy not to treat survivors of neuroblastoma who relapse was "very harsh".

Paying tribute to Bradley, the Spelthorne MP also raised the case of teenage constituent Alfie Ward, who is battling neuroblastoma for the third time and is supported by the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Mr Kwarteng said: "The problem that we have is that the NHS under current dispensation, its current policy, is to fund treatment in the first instance.

"But as Alfie started nursery and he battled the disease, it became apparent that having survived this appalling affliction, it came back, and it's at this point that I want to make the case for the NHS to review its policy about not funding relapses.

After the debate, Easington's Labour MP Grahame Morris said: "As someone who has been through cancer treatment for a form of lymphatic cancer, I fully appreciate the need for early diagnosis and intervention in order to gain a successful outcome, particularly so for children.

"There are a variety of new treatments that are only available when families have to make a financial appeal. In Bradley's case specialist treatment was available in the United States. There should be much more widely available treatments trialled here in the United Kingdom."

"I completely support the Lowery family and a number of campaigns to raise profile of childhood cancers, the Teenage Cancer Trust in particular.

MPs heard that neuroblastoma is the third most common type of childhood cancer, affecting around 100 children every year.

Mr Kwarteng said that Alfie's parents were now attempting to raise around £600,000 so he can get treatment.

"We shouldn't have to be in a situation where in the case of relapses the obligation falls on the shoulder of the parents and friends to go through what is very stressful," he said. "We've all raised money for various causes in our time and it's a very stressful, very time-consuming endeavour."

"I think we have to as a society look at ways in which the NHS could fund, and the NICE, could fund relapses, so that people won't have to go through, parents of young boys like Alfie Ward won't have to go through the kinds of suffering and the pressure that they have done simply to try and give their son a fighting chance for life."

A NICE spokesman said it was producing guidance on two antibody treatments for this condition, but that one was suspended due to the unavailability of the drug outside the US, while meetings about the other had been postponed.

He added: "In the meantime and in the absence of NICE guidance, NHS bodies should make decisions locally on the funding of these treatments."

Health minister Steve Brine added: "We want the NHS to be the best in the world at treating childhood cancers and all cancers."