A 16-Year-Old Boy May Have Cured A Form Of Breast Cancer

Brilliance | Dec. 15, 2017

In 2016, a teenage boy announced that he had found a way to make triple-negative breast cancer, a deadly and untreatable form of the disease, treatable. That's impressive enough without this next fact: he claimed the breakthrough a year after winning the Google Science Fair for creating an early, noninvasive test for Alzheimer's Disease. The 16-year-old Krtin Nithiyanandam hails from Surrey, England and says he first became interested in the medical sciences after he had ear surgery as a young child. Clearly, his interest has taken off.

Nithiyanandam made his breakthrough by causing an important change to the cancer cells. While most cancers have receptors that bind to drugs, he told The Telegraph, the triple-negative form of breast cancer doesn't, making drugs ineffective ("triple-negative" refers to the fact that the cancer lacks the three receptors known to fuel most breast cancers). The treatment is supposed to silence the genes that produce a particular protein that leads this type of cancer to be so aggressive, thereby turning it into a slower-moving and more easily treatable form. At the same time, the treatment increases PTEN, a type of tumor suppressor, to give chemotherapy a leg up in the fight. Learn more about breast cancer in the videos below.

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