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by Dominic Howell
A cancer treatment at the centre of an NHS controversy in 2014 causes fewer side effects in children than conventional radiotherapy, according to new research.
The study, published in The Lancet Oncology, suggests proton beam therapy is as effective as other treatments.
Researchers looked at 59 patients aged between three and 21 from 2003 to 2009.
In 2014 the parents of Ashya King took him out of hospital in Hampshire to get the treatment abroad.
Their actions led to a police operation to find them.
Ashya, who was five at the time of his treatment, is now cancer free, his family said last year.
All the patients who took part in the study, led by Dr Torunn Yock from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, had the most common kind of malignant brain tumour in children, known as medulloblastoma.
After five years, their survival rate was similar to that of patients treated with conventional X-ray radiotherapy, but there were fewer side effects to the heart and lungs, the study found.
Dr Yock told BBC Radio 5 live: “The major finding is that proton therapy is as effective as photon therapy [conventional X-ray radiotherapy] in curing these patients and what is also very exciting is that it is maintaining these high rates of cure but doing so with less late toxicity, which has dramatic quality of life improvements.”
The paper said: “Proton radiotherapy resulted in acceptable toxicity and had similar survival outcomes to those noted with conventional radiotherapy, suggesting that the use of the treatment may be an alternative to photon-based treatments.
Full article here
Investment bank Shawbrook spends £30m on ‘Ashya’ proton beam firm
By Vicki Owen, Financial Mail On Sunday
Investment bank Shawbrook has spent millions on a firm specialising in proton beam therapy– the form of radiotherapy that made headlines in the case of Ashya King.
Shawbrook Asset Finance has agreed a £30million loan facility with Proton Partners International, which is building the first dedicated proton beam therapy centres in the UK.
Ashya’s case came to light when his parents – Brett and Naghmeh – took him from Southampton General Hospital in 2014 against the wishes of his doctors in order to seek the proton beam therapy abroad for his brain cancer. This sparked a police search and the controversial arrest of his parents near Malaga in Spain.
A High Court judge later backed the parents’ right to take Ashya to the Czech Republic for the treatment. The six-year-old is now clear of cancer and went back to school last week.
Full story here
Published in The Guardian today. Parents of brain cancer survivor say they are proud of their son, who has recovered well after proton beam therapy in Prague.
The father of brain cancer survivor Ashya King has said he is proud as his son returns to school full time.
Brett King said six-year-old Ashya was doing very well after recovering from proton beam therapy for his rare condition.
King and his wife, Naghmeh, sparked an international manhunt after they took Ashya, then aged five, from Southampton general hospital without doctors’ consent in August 2014.
They were arrested a few days later in Spain and spent several nights in prison away from their son before being released. A high court judge later approved the move to take Ashya to Prague for proton therapy.
Full article here
From the BBC website.
Brain tumour boy Ashya King back home in Portsmouth.
A boy who was at the centre of an international manhunt after his parents took him abroad for brain tumour treatment is back home in Portsmouth.
Brett and Naghemeh King took six-year-old Ashya out of a Southampton hospital against medical advice last summer. The couple took him abroad to seek proton beam treatment, but when they were found in Spain they were arrested and held in prison.
They eventually won approval for Ashya to be treated in the Czech Republic. Mr and Mrs King had remained abroad with their son after the treatment saying they feared he could be taken into care.
The Portsmouth Local Safeguarding Children Board announced in September it would review the circumstances which led to the Kings taking Ashya abroad and the response of all the statutory authorities. Its report is due to be published in the autumn.
Full article here