Despite countless funding, a true cure for cancer has eluded scientists and medical professionals for generations. Although the medical industry has made all kinds of advancements, after so many years and lives lost, it’s easy to feel like finding the cure is just a pipe dream.
Yet thanks to the work of one teenage boy, we may be closer than ever to finding a way to prevent and cure at least one common and deadly form of cancer: breast cancer. Just see his remarkable story…
Statistically speaking, roughly one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Obesity, alcohol consumption, and lack of exercise all contribute to the potential risk. Unfortunately, the medical community has yet to find a cure for this common disease.
Despite all the decades of research conducted by scientists, the answer has eluded them… that is, until now. And it’s all thanks to the remarkable work of one 16-year-old boy from England!
His name is Krtin Nithiyanandam, and what he discovered wasn’t just groundbreaking; rather, it could completely revolutionize the way that doctors prevent and treat breast cancer in the future.
Krtin’s idea related to a specific type of breast cancer known as triple negative, which affects about 7,500 women each year. He found that the majority of modern drugs prove to be ineffective for treating this type of cancer.
“Triple negative refers to the fact that the cancer lacks the three receptors known to fuel most breast cancers,” the young student explained of the disease. So, why did that make it so difficult to treat?
“While most cancers have receptors that bind to drugs, the triple negative form of breast cancer doesn’t, making drugs ineffective.” After realizing this, Krtin’s goal became centered on finding a way to treat this sort of cancer.
“Around 15 percent of people diagnosed with breast cancer have triple negative breast cancer,” explained Dr. Emma Pennery, the clinical director at the United Kingdom’s Breast Cancer Care. This only further emphasized the importance of Krtin’s work.
The majority of breast cancer research aimed to find receptors. This not only made triple negative breast cancer more difficult to treat, but far more difficult to study, too. Thankfully, Krtin was willing to step in.
“Triple negative breast cancer does not have these receptors and so much less is known about what makes it grow,” Dr. Pennery added. “Thus, it can be difficult to treat successfully.”
“There are fewer treatment options available,” Dr. Pennery continued. “Hormone therapy, such as Tamoxifen, and most targeted therapy drugs, like Herceptin, are of no benefit.”
“Overall triple negative breast cancer has a worse outlook in the first few years,” Dr. Pennery concluded. “However, it often responds well to chemotherapy and longer term survival is similar to other types of breast cancer.”
Krtin recognized that while the existing treatments—such as chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery—can sometimes work, all of them come with serious risks. Obviously, he wanted to find a better solution…
“I’ve been basically trying to work out a way to change difficult-to-treat cancers into something that responds well to treatment,” Krtin said in an interview regarding his work. So, would he be successful?
Though he was still a high school student, Krtin began focusing his attention on blocking a specific protein known as ID4. Doing so would allow “undifferentiated stem cell cancers [to] differentiate,” Krtin explained.
How would he do that, you ask? Krtin actually discovered a way to “silence the genes that produce ID4, which turns cancer back into a less dangerous state.” Amazingly, the high-schooler’s research didn’t end there!
Krtin also hoped to discover a way to make chemotherapy itself more effective. He planned to begin a deeper dive into the subject, all while he continued to perfect his work on blocking PTEN proteins, a tumor suppressor.
“The next stage of research would be studying the effects of increased PTEN expression in more detail but also trying to develop a system which would allow me to successfully introduce PTEN and the ID4 inhibitors in [a living organism],” Krtin said.
Overall, the research Krtin conducted was fairly revolutionary. Hopefully, his work will be crucial to treating future cancer patients all over the globe—and increasing their chances of survival.
It’s important to remember that Krtin was only 16 years old, and conducted the majority of his own research at home and in his school’s science laboratories! His biggest hope was that people would take the work of a teenager seriously.
He might not have been able to drive a car yet, but that didn’t stop him from following through on a great idea and making a difference. Something tells us this was only the beginning of Krtin’s amazing accomplishments!
It’s extremely important to note that this information does not necessarily mean that we have found a definitive cure for breast cancer. However, the mere fact that this knowledge may have brought us closer to finding a cure is notable on its own!
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