THE parents of a cancer-stricken little boy claim a cannabis compound has shrunk his deadly brain tumour.
Little William Frost, four, was diagnosed with an ependymoma brain tumour in 2014.
Four-year-old William was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2014
After gruelling rounds of surgery and chemotherapy his devastated parents, Steve and Hilary, were told last year that he was dying.
Not willing to accept their son’s fate they began researching alternative therapies.
They came across a non-psychoactive cannabis compound called cannabidiol (CBD) which some have claimed has cancer curing properties.
Steve and Hilary found a private clinic willing to prescribe the synthetic substance.
Within a few months they say William’s golf ball-sized tumour had shrunk by two thirds.
Now William, from Newark, in Nottinghamshire, is finally well enough to go to school part-time.
Steve, 36, and Hilary, 34, are now backing new research by experts at Nottingham’s Children’s Brain Tumour Research Centre into whether CBD can reduce paediatric brain cancer cells.
Steve, who is also dad to one-year-old Charlotte, said: “In late 2013, we started noticing William’s head tilting to the right-hand side – no one had ever seen anything like it before.
“His balance was off and he started vomiting randomly so we took him to the GP.
“After a few days, they realised something was quite seriously wrong, and did an MRI scan – that’s when they discovered a tumour the size of a golf ball.
“It was a highly aggressive, grade three tumour – and the prognosis from the doctors was very poor.”
William had surgery to remove the tumour but 18 months later, after nine months of chemotherapy, the tumour grew back.
He was in intensive care for six weeks before having radiotherapy – but still it didn’t have an effect on the tumour.
Steve, a civil engineer, added: “We couldn’t bear to accept there were no more options for William.
“We were desperate and willing to try anything – when we read the research on cannabis and tumours it gave us hope.
“It cost us £2,000 for a nine-month supply, but we wanted to make sure we were giving William the best quality stuff – we gave it to him diluted in water.”
Around three months later Steve and Hilary started to notice an improvement in William.
When he had an MRI scan after six months they were thrilled to discover his tumour had shrunk.
Now, William takes the oil every day and also follows a low carb, high fat ketogenic diet – which his parents also claim has been proven to kill off cancer cells.
Steve said: “The doctors were pretty shocked by the improvement.
“A year ago he could barely walk, and now he’s full of life again – he’s even started going to school for half days.
“We don’t want to tempt fate, but his outlook is a lot more positive now – we don’t know if it’s permanent, but it’s given us a lot of extra, good-quality, time with William.”
Steve and Hilary are sharing William’s story in the hope the University of Nottingham, which is conducting the research in CBD, can raise £100,000 for their work.
William’s consultant Professor Richard Grundy, who’s leading the research project, said: “Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children in the UK but the disease receives less than one per cent of the UK’s cancer research funding.
“New ways to treat childhood brain tumours are urgently needed to extend and improve the quality of life in malignant brain tumour patientsso we are excited at the prospect of testing the effect of cannabidiol on brain tumour cells.
“Increasingly families are using CBD, often at great expense, presently there is no evidence that it might be of benefit or even what dose to use or how often.
“It is therefore very important to obtain objective scientific evidence of whether CBD is active against children’s brain tumour cell lines.”