Krtin Nithiyandam, a 16-year-old from Epsom, Surrey, claims he has found a way to make a deadly form of breast cancer treatable.
Many types of breast cancer respond to drugs because “they have receptors on their surface which bind to drugs like Tamoxifen, but triple negative don’t have receptors, so the drugs don’t work,” Nithiyandam told the Telegraph.
Some women with triple breast cancer respond to therapy well, while others quickly decline. The reason lies in the structure and behaviour of cancer cells. Differentiated cells look like healthy ones and are less aggressive. Undifferentiated cells, in contrast, do not become recognisable breast tissue, spreading quickly and forming tumors.
The aim is to shift cancer cells to a state where they can be treated. © FLICKR/ XDMAG Russian Scientists Create Cancer Treatment From Dill and Parsley According to Nithiyandam, making triple cancer treatable may be possible by inhibiting ID4, a protein able to stop stem cells from mutating into dangerous forms.
“The ID4 protein actually stops undifferentiated stem cell cancers from differentiating so you have to block ID4 to allow the cancer to differentiate,” he said.
The teenager also suggests that increasing the activity of Phosphatase and tensin homolog — a tumor suppressor gene — will improve the utility of standard chemotherapy.
Combining the two methods will allow for a more effective treatment, he said, compared to the traditional methodology.
Nithiyandam also developed an Alzheimer’s test which he claims can spot indicators of the disease 10 years before modern diagnostics, potentially stopping its spread, work for which he won the 2015 Google Science Fair.