A 16-year-old Canadian peaks the interest of scientists around the world because he has developed an effective and less expensive technology to fight cancer.
Sajeev Kohli’s daily life is nothing like that of a typical teenager. He spends as much time in high school as in the labs at the University of Waterloo, where he tries to find a cure for cancer.
The young Ontarian has been interested in science for many years. But it was when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer by one of his uncles that Sajeev chose to devote his research to it.
“I saw him suffer in the hospital,” recalls Sajeev Kohli. I saw the pain associated with the disease. That’s why I wanted to develop a less invasive treatment. ” Regular cancer treatments also affect healthy cells, often causing a series of side effects.
Sajeev Kohli has developed through nanotechnology a method to distribute more precisely the drugs in the human body. “My nanomechanics manage to get to the cancer cells without touching healthy cells,” he says.
Already effective against three cancers
Sajeev Kohli’s approach has been shown to be effective against colon, lung and breast cancer in laboratory cell culture tests.
Brian Dixon, a professor who heads a research laboratory at the University of Waterloo, is impressed by the ability of nanoscopes designed by the young investigator to directly target cancer cells.
But according to him, the most innovative aspect of his research is the algorithm he created to determine the target to reach. “It’s a much more direct approach,” he explains. Usually, treatments develop after cell-based assays in the laboratory. ”
The young researcher maintains that his method is ten times faster to set up, seven times less expensive and five times more effective than current treatments.
The method I developed is universal. Similar vehicles could be adapted to fight other cancers or even other diseases.
The work of Sajeev Kohli earned him top honors at the Sanofi Biogenius Canada (2018 edition) competition held in May. The young prodigy also returns from Boston, USA, where he won the grand prize of the Global Healthcare Challenge in an international competition.
Long road in front of him
The next step for Sajeev Kohli is to prove the effectiveness of her method in vivo .
In a few years, he could inject his nanoparticles to mice and zebrafish to see their effects on the tumor.
Clinical trials on humans, meanwhile, will not be done before 10 years. And it would probably be necessary to wait another 20 years before its treatment could reach the market.
But Sajeev Kohli has plenty of time before him. He wants to continue his experiments until the PhD and continue to develop this treatment once in the labor market.
No matter how long it takes, he says he wants to make every effort to reduce patients’ pain while fighting cancer.
Already, notes Brian Dixon, he accomplished more at 16 than a master’s or doctoral student.
The researchers of tomorrow
Is Sajeev Kohli so different from other kids of her age? He does not think so.
He says he regularly meets young passionate scientists who devote all their free time to research. They, like him, will be the next generation of researchers.
“Sajeev really stood out,” says Sanofi Canada President Niven Al-Khoury. His research and determination reflect the depth and caliber of scientific talent in Canada. ”
The biopharmaceutical company says it proudly supports this “next generation of innovators.” She has also financially supported Sajeev Kohli to present his work to the international scientific community.
John is still early into his career as a news editor but he has already contributed to several publications online including Business Insider and Gizmodo. As a journalist for Techno Secrets , John covers science and space stories.