Next time you feel that society is headed in the wrong direction remind yourself of this story: a fifteen year old that developed a revolutionary new way to test for pancreatic cancer.
His efforts led him to winning the grand prize at Intel’s science and engineering fair.
His test is 168 times faster and over 26,000 less expensive than the current gold standard. And in a blind study it had a 100% success rate.
The idea came to him one day in biology class.
Maryland young maker Jack Andraka isn’t old enough to drive yet, but he’s just pioneered a new, improved test for diagnosing pancreatic cancer that is 90% accurate, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than existing methods. Andraka had gotten interested in pancreatic cancer, and knew that early detection is a challenge. He gleaned information on the topic from his “good friend Google,” and began his research. Yes, he even got in trouble in his science class for reading articles on carbon nanotubes instead of doing his classwork. When Andraka had solidified ideas for his novel paper sensor, he wrote out his procedure, timeline, and budget, and emailed 200 professors at research institutes. He got 199 rejections and one acceptance from Johns Hopkins: “If you send out enough emails, someone’s going to say yes.” Andraka was recently awarded the grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his groundbreaking discoveries.