Have you heard of Jack Andraka? He is an amateur scientist who discovered a testing strip that detects early signs of pancreatic cancer. But first of all he is a 16 years old school boy from Maryland! And while other teenagers his age pass their time playing video games he’s searching for a cure for cancer that might save millions of lives.
The test is still in the preliminary stages but if it works, it will be 168 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive (costing around three cents) and over 400 times more sensitive than the current diagnostic tests.
“Have you ever experienced a moment in your life that was so painful and confusing, you just want to learn everything you can to make sense of it all?” Andraka sais when asked about what motivated him to do his research.
For him, that moment came when a family friend, passed away from pancreatic cancer.
After his first research he wrote to 200 scientists asking for space in their lab and he received 199 rejections.
In 2012 he was awarded the Gordon E. Moore Award for his work, which is $75,000 by the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
Pancreatic cancer is a very malicious kind of cancer because of the symptoms it’s discovered at a very late stage when the chances of a cure a very low. In 85% of cases pancreatic cancer is diagnosed when a person only has a 2% chance of survival. Andrakas test could enable a much faster and earlier detection.
On this picture you see Jack Andraka on his way to receive his award 🙂 Amazing!