Medicine

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

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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.

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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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