A mum whose son died from an aggressive form of cancer has welcomed plans for a new clinical trial into the disease.

Lynn Lucas and her husband, also called Lynn, have been tirelessly raising funds for research into rhabdomyosarcoma since they lost their loving son Chris to the disease almost 20 years ago.

The couple, from Wallsend, have raised around £2.4m to date for a team based at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) . Their efforts have also previously won them awards.

Now they are hoping a new international clinical trial, which is planned to open this year, will help to further study the effects of rhabdomyosarcoma and find ways to improve and prolong the life of youngsters suffering from the disease.

With the support of the Chris Lucas Trust, the lab at the ICR, led by Prof Janet Shipley, has already developed a genetic test to better classify rhabdomyosarcoma patients into low and high risk groups that decide treatment intensity.

This year, a new clinical trial is set to open for patients in the UK and other countries, incorporating some of the lab’s research findings.

The team is working to identify new ways to treat young patients with more aggressive disease. This includes examining drugs that are currently used to treat other types of cancer, to see if they could also be used to treat children and young people with rhabdomyosarcoma.

Lynn, 61, said: "Chris was just 18 when he died. Even though it has been nearly 20 years, it feels like it was yesterday.

Chris Lucas, centre, with his parents

"We think about him every day, at every family occasion and at every event.

"He would have been a brilliant best man at his brother David's wedding. David now has a two-year-old son and he is the spitting image of Chris. I think Chris would have been a great uncle to him.

"We will never stop remembering Chris. But we want to stop other young people from suffering the way he did.

"There is no cure for rhabdomyosarcoma. But we hope that this trial and all the research will help to improve the quality of life of children who have the disease and maybe help to prolong their life.

undefined

Looking for the latest news in your postcode? We have launched a brand new website InYourArea.co.uk allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening near you. It also has an app.

Search the latest news, property listings, jobs, planning applications, public notices and more. To get breaking news sent to your phone, download the ChronicleLive app here.

"Our ultimate aim is to find a cure. It may not happen in our lifetime but we can only try our best.

"This won't bring our son back but we can try to bring a little bit of hope.

"Chris' name is going to live on after me and Lynn have gone. We just want to make difference."

Chris was diagnosed with the disease in July 1997, when he was 15. Despite receiving extensive treatment, he lost his brave fight for life three years later. His parents set up the Chris Lucas Trust in his memory.

One of the charity's biggest fundraising events of the year is the annual Great North Bike Ride. Last year, 1,200 riders took part.

Prof Shipley, who leads the sarcoma molecular pathology team at the ICR, also joined the ride.

She said: "Last year, I joined the Great North Bike Ride to show our huge appreciation for the incredible support we have received from the Chris Lucas Trust over the years.

"It has been truly inspiring and very humbling to know and work with Lynn and Lynn, who have been tireless in their efforts to raise money for our research into rhabdomyosarcoma, the disease that led to the tragic death of their son Chris.

"I hope I can in some small way give back to the Chris Lucas Trust, which is dedicated to raising as much money as possible to make a difference and find better treatments to combat rhabdomyosarcoma."