If you’re feeling anxious about how U.S. kids lag the world in science and math, take this story of a high school freshman from Crownsville, Md. He came up with a prize-winning breakthrough that could change world of cancer and other fatal diseases.
His name is Jack Andraka. He loves science and engineering in every inch of his 15-year-old soul. With his passion, he conducted his research at John Hopkins University that entails changing the face of cancer and promote early detection. To think that scientists spending millions of dollars to find more about cancer, the boy finds it out by doing a science fair project! His diagnostic test earned him first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which is considered as the world’s largest pre-college science research competition.
For a teenager he is disarmingly forthright and direct in talking about complex chemistry, but he’s also good at making it understandable to the lay person.
There are MILLIONS more of me out there. So do something amazing that can help humanity.
In his new, rapid and inexpensive method of detecting an increase number of protein – indicative for the presence of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer during early stages, he said that it all started during his high school biology class. When he was secretly reading an article about nanotubes while his teacher was talking about antibodies. He then hypothesized the two ideas that came together in his head, and he thought he could combine what the teacher was saying with what he knew about nanotubes to create an early detection test for Pancreatic cancer.
He then found a bunch of ideas and solutions through Google searches and free online science journals that aided in developing a plan and gave it a try. Jack contacted around 200 people including researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health with a proposal to work in their labs. He got 199 rejections before he finally got an acceptance from Dr. Anirban Maitra, Professor of Pathology, Oncology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Jack worked after school every day, on weekends and even over holidays at Maitra’s lab until he successfully developed his test.
To conclude, Jack’s method is by far 168 times faster, 26000 times cheaper, 400 times more sensitive and has a 90% success rate.