SCIENTISTS in the region have been awarded £5 million funding for groundbreaking research to treat childhood cancers.

Three research teams at the Cancer Research UK Newcastle Centre have been awarded funding to develop new breakthroughs in the fight against the disease in young people.

Researchers are trying to develop new treatments for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of blood cancer diagnosed in 500 young people in the UK each year.

They are also trying to improvement treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common aggressive brain tumour in children, and hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer.

Professor Josef Vormoor, who is leading the acute lymphoblastic leukaemia research team, hopes to uncover new drug combinations which improve survival rates and have fewer side effectss.

Prof Vormoor said: “We have been able to establish strong research teams in Newcastle and we have some of the best childhood cancer research teams in Europe.

“Without funding like this we couldn’t make advances and develop new treatments.”