Krtin Nithiyanandam is a 15-year-old schoolboy from Epsom, Surrey. He is also the brain behind a path breaking new diagnosis technique that could help in the detection of Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disorder, 10 years before it sets in.
Krtin has developed a ‘trojan horse’ antibody, which can penetrate the brain and attach to neurotoxin proteins, which are present in the very first stages of the disease. The antibodies, which would be injected into the bloodstream, are also attached to fluorescent particles, which can then be picked up on a brain scan.
This diagnostic technique was Krtin’s submission for the Google Science Fair Prize for which he is now a finalist. He will find out in August if he has won the prestigious scholarship and mentoring to take his idea further.
He says “The main benefits of my test are that it could be used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms start to show by focusing on pathophysiological changes, some of which can occur a decade before symptoms are prevalent.”
Krtin’s antibodies can pass through the blood-brain barrier that commonly hinders the diagnoses and treatment for neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Lab tests conducted to prove its potency have also shown that these antibodies ‘handcuff’ the toxic proteins, stopping them from developing further which could potentially stop Alzhiemer’s in its tracks.
“Some of my new preliminary research has suggested that my diagnostic probe could simultaneously have therapeutic potential as well as diagnostic,” said Krtin who attends Sutton Grammar School. Krtin’s family moved to Britain from India when he was just a baby. He suffered from hearing problems as a child and wants to study medicine when he leaves school.