Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Homecoming hopes for cancer boy

Alex Barnes in hospital
Alex Barnes is currently in America undergoing daily treatment

A four-year-old boy from Leicestershire who is in America for pioneering treatment to a brain tumour is hoping to be home by Christmas.

Alex Barnes, from Fleckney, began specialist proton therapy last month, three weeks after brain surgery to remove a tumour.

His mother Ros said the treatment was going well and they should be back home by the middle of December.

Alex will have to undergo a total of 33 proton therapy sessions.

He is now a third of the way through the treatment at the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute.

'Waiting game'

Ros Barnes said: "It's going really well, every day we leave the house at quarter past seven and we get home about half past eleven, it doesn't hurt him.

"It'll only be for a few more weeks and hopefully Alex will be sorted. We're going to come home in the second or third week of December.

However, she said it would be a while before they would know if the treatment had been completely successful.

She added: "It's a waiting game after this. It could be a month, a year, two years, five years......we don't know."

Doctors at the Proton Therapy Institute believe the radiation technique involved targets tumours more precisely than conventional radiotherapy, sparing healthy tissue.

Proton therapy is a non-invasive procedure which starts with special equipment separating hydrogen from water.

Part of hydrogen atoms, protons, are then sent at high speed to form a proton beam which is targeted precisely at the tumour.

Alex's proton treatment is expected to cost more than 70,000.

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SEE ALSO
Cancer boy begins proton therapy
21 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Brain surgery boy out of hospital
06 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Surgeons positive after brain op
02 Oct 08 |  Leicestershire
Boy awaits brain cancer operation
29 Sep 08 |  Leicestershire
Cancer boy ready to travel to US
20 Sep 08 |  Leicestershire

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