Edinburgh teen Kira Noble rejoices as cancer shrinks after one year of 'amazing' new drug

She was diagnosed at just 11 years old.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 4:30 pm

The family of an Edinburgh teenager who has been living with cancer for six years is ‘incredibly thankful’ to report that the disease has shrunk to just one small nodule after a year of treatment on a new wonder drug.

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Kira Noble, 16, was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer, at 11 years old.

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Aud and Kira Noble. Picture: Contributed

Since then she has undergone 20 rounds of chemotherapy, and various other gruelling treatments - and was told in early 2019 that her disease was ‘incurable but treatable’.

She has had a relapse/progression of the disease six times, increasing the challenge of treatment.

But since starting on a new experimental drug called Lorlatinib in April 2019 she has seen huge improvement, and a year later there is just one nodule of disease remaining, measured in ‘millimetres not centimetres’.

The remaining nodule has reduced in size even further since Kira’s last MRI scan in January.

Kira Noble

“It’s just absolutely wonderful,” mum Aud, 53, told the Evening News.

While it was Kira’s decision to stop chemotherapy in April 2019 and try Lorlatinib, Ms Noble had ‘huge faith’ in the new drug.

“It seemed to me that it would be the perfect fit,” she said.

“But it was still experimental, and with relapsed Neuroblastoma you just never know what’s going to work. That's what makes it so amazing that she's having this result with Lorlatinib.

“The beauty of this drug is that it has minimal side effects, it’s a much kinder treatment than chemotherapy while still being very effective.”

As Kira's illness makes her more vulnerable to Covid-19 it has been difficult for her to keep attending appointments at the Sick Kids hospital during lockdown.

“It’s very daunting to have to leave the house, to go into the hospital and to have to walk around,” said Ms Noble. "I'm always questioning where the virus could be lurking."

“But it has to be done, we have to just take a deep breath and do it.”

Kira and her family are no strangers to social distancing, as she has been forced to stay in isolation several times before as a result of her cancer treatment.

“The isolation, the incessant hand washing, not being able to have visitors... we’ve had all of that before,” said Ms Noble, adding that being in lockdown at home ‘almost seems like a bonus’ after the more difficult situations Kira has dealt with over the years.

The family have been joining in the 8pm clap for carers each Thursday at 8pm, an act which means a lot for them after everything Kira has been through.

“We get out on the front steps at a safe distance from our neighbours in our street every week,” said Ms Noble.

“I used to clap but I felt my noise impact wasn't big enough, so now I go out with a pot and a wooden spoon to make as much noise as possible. Our NHS is amazing!

“I find it quite emotional to see people celebrating the NHS like that, it brings a lump to my throat.”

Kira’s next MRI scan will be in July, and her condition will continue to be carefully monitored. In the meantime she is managing to keep up some of the social life so recently reclaimed from her illness, and has been chatting to friends over social media and other virtual means.

The support Kira has received from Evening News readers and the community has been ‘really humbling’, Ms Noble said.

“It’s very heartwarming for us to see.”