SCIENTISTS have launched a new trial with the hope of treating a rare but dangerous childhood cancer.

Neuroblastoma develops from nerve cells and affects about 100 children a year in the UK. The cancer usually starts in the child's abdomen and can spread to other areas. Initial symptoms can be vague - such as aches and pains and loss of appetite -and the cancer is often not diagnosed until later stages, when it is more likely to kill.

In the trial, experts from Cancer Research UK are using a new type of molecular radiotherapy which has never been tested in children before. The treatment uses radiotherapy to "piggy-back" on to a drug that naturally attaches itself to neuroblastoma cells.

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Lead researcher Dr Mark Gaze said: "We have real hope that this method of radiotherapy may be particularly effective and offer a new treatment option."