THE mum of a young boy with a rare brain tumour has welcomed a move by two leading charities to invest nearly £340,000 in research into the condition.

Scottish charity Worldwide Cancer Research has teamed up with The Brain Tumour Charity to fund the work of two scientists looking into ways to treat the disease.

Jennifer Stewart, whose son Luke, from Tranent, has Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), welcomed the move, saying there had to be more options for families affected by the condition.

Supporters of the Stewart family have raised nearly £200,000 to help fund pioneering treatment which Luke is receiving in Mexico, after doctors in the UK admitted they had only limited options at home.

The eight-year-old, who was diagnosed with the condition in January last year, has shown remarkable progress since receiving treatment abroad.

His case, and that of six-year-old Alex Logan, from Prestonpans, who was diagnosed with the rare condition in the summer, have been raised by East Lothian MP Martin Whitfield in Westminster in a debate over the need for more research.

Speaking as the family marked the first anniversary of being given Luke’s diagnosis, Mrs Stewart said: “Research and alternative options are essential.

“There has to be a much-needed cure for DIPG to stop our precious children being stolen from us.

“There has been no progress towards a cure for DIPG for more than 50 years. This has to change.”

The Stewart family revealed that, despite the huge amount of money donated to help Luke receive treatment, they only have funds for two more visits to Mexico and desperately need more to carry on this year.

She encouraged supporters to share her plea for support.

A total of £119,000 has been awarded to Dr Lee Wong at Monash University in Australia to search for weaknesses in brain tumours so new treatments can be developed.

Dr Wong and her team have worked out that a tiny alteration to chromosome structure can be used to identify tumour cells from normal cells and now want to investigate exactly how these changes drive tumour growth in glioma.

A further £218,000 has been awarded to Professor Adrian Bracken at Trinity College Dublin to study DIPG.

Professor Bracken is interested in why some patients are resistant to a specific type of treatment and is studying the molecular features of these tumours to work out how to overcome resistance.

The charities said that research into rare cancers was far behind in comparison to other types of cancer.

Dr Helen Rippon, chief executive of Worldwide Cancer Research, said: “This is the first time both charities have joined forces to help fund cancer research and the combined support means that research projects are able to be completed that might otherwise have been missed.”

And Sarah Lindsell, chief executive of The Brain Tumour Charity, said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Worldwide Cancer Research to fund two projects with real promise for improving brain tumour treatments.

“Brain tumours kill more children and adults under 40 than any other type of cancer and reduce life expectancy by 20 years on average – more than any other cancer.”