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.

Print Sponsor

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

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific