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16-year-old Indian origin student devises way to treat deadly breast cancer

Google Science fair winner Krtin Nithiyanandam Source: Sutton Grammar School

Krtin Nithiyanandam says he has hit upon a way to turn deadly breast cancer into a kind that responds to drugs.

A 16-year-old Indian-origin boy, Krtin Nithiyanandam from UK has found a way to turn so-called triple negative breast cancer into a kind which responds to drugs.

According to a report published in The Telegraph, triple negative breast cancer is a type of disease which does not respond to today's most effective drugs. 

“Triple negative breast cancer does not have receptors and not much is known about what makes it grows,” said Breast Cancer Care’s Clinical Director Dr Emma Pennery.

“Thus, it can be difficult to treat successfully. There are fewer treatment options available - hormone therapy, such as Tamoxifen, and most targeted therapy drugs, like Herceptin, are of no benefit,” Dr Pennery told The Telegraph.

Krtin has tried to turn this ‘difficult to treat cancers’ into something that responds well to treatment.  

“Most cancers have receptors on their surface which bind to drugs like Tamoxifen but triple negative don’t have receptors, so the drugs don’t work,” Krtin was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

“The prognosis for women with undifferentiated cancer isn’t very good, so the goal is to turn the cancer back to a state where it can be treated. The ID4 protein actually stops undifferentiated stem cell cancers from differentiating, so you have to block ID4 to allow the cancer to differentiate,” he has said.

“I have found a way to silence the genes that produce ID4 which turns cancer back into a less dangerous state,” Krtin added.

Krtin has also discovered that upping the activity of a tumour suppressor gene called PTEN allows chemotherapy to work more effectively, so the dual treatment could prove far more effective than traditional drugs.

The therapy idea saw him shortlisted for the final of the U.K.-based young scientists programme titled ‘The Big Bang Fair.’

Source The Telegraph, UK