Ashya King, the schoolboy cancer patient who sparked an international manhunt after his parents “abducted” him from hospital in the UK, is now said to have passed a significant milestone in his recovery.
Ashya was taken abroad for specialist treatment – and his brain tumour may now have gone forever.
His father Brett has told Sky News the family had been taking their eight-year-old son to Spain for private scans every four months since he underwent pioneering brain surgery in the Czech Republic in Autumn 2014.
Specialists at Southampton General Hospital wanted to treat Ashya with intense chemotherapy and radiation, which his parents Naghmeh and Brett thought would leave their then-five-year-old with permanent disability.
So without medical permission they fled to Spain where they had a home, with a view to going to Prague for proton therapy with Ashya.
His mother and father were arrested by Spanish police at the request of the British authorities.
But they were ultimately allowed to take Ashya to Prague.
There, he underwent a series of short bursts of proton therapy, in which a concentrated beam of energy is used to kill the tumour without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
It worked, and Ashya has been recovering ever since.
Ashya’s father Brett told Sky News: “Because of the treatment, with the recurrence of the cancer we kind of feel we’re out of the woods with that now.
“All these worrying about his MRIs, and looking at him and thinking what sort of future he might have, you know how long or how short, we feel a lot more confident about the future we can actually start making a few plans now for the future.
“We feel at last we can… take a deep breath and move on a bit now.”
From being unable to speak or walk unaided, he can now ride a bike and is going to school and playing football with his friends.
Brett and Naghmeh had been wary of putting Ashya back into the care of the cancer team they had fallen out with so publicly three-and-a-half years ago.
But now specialists in Southampton have reviewed the latest scans and reportedly confirm that so far there is no recurrence of the cancer in Ashya’s brain.