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Breast cancer breakthrough? 16-year-old Indian-origin boy claims cure for disease

Krtin Nithiyanandam believes he has devised a way to turn triple negative breast cancer into a kind which responds to drugs.

Updated: Aug 29, 2016, 11:47 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

London: In a significant medical finding, a 16-year-old Indian-origin boy in the UK claimed to have found a treatment for the most deadly form of breast cancer.

 

Krtin Nithiyanandam believes he has devised a way to turn triple negative breast cancer into a kind which responds to drugs.

Many breast cancers are driven by oestrogen, progesterone or growth chemicals so drugs such as tamoxifen that can block those fuels make effective treatments.

However, the so-called triple negative breast cancer does not have receptors and it can only be treated with a gruelling combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy which lowers the chance of survival.

“I’ve been basically trying to work out a way to change difficult-to-treat cancers into something that responds well to treatment,” Krtin was quoted as saying by the Sunday 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.”

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

Some women with triple negative cancer respond very well to treatment while others quickly decline.

The problem lies in whether the cancer cells are “differentiated” or not.

He 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 UK-based young scientists programme titled The Big Bang Fair.

His efforts had hit the headlines last year when he won the Google Science Fair for creating a test which helps pick up the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and potentially stop it spreading further.

Around 7,500 women each year are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, a type of disease which does not respond to today's most effective drugs.

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in females worldwide.

(With PTI inputs)