Teen Discovers A Cancer Break Thru
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Jack Thomas Andraka (born in 1997) is an inventor, scientist and cancer researcher. Andraka was awarded the Gordon E. Moore Award for his work in developing a new, rapid, and inexpensive method to detect an increase of a protein that indicates the presence of pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer during early stages when there is a higher likelihood of a cure.
Hailing from Crownsville, Maryland, Jack Andraka has given a number of accounts of what inspired him to work on pancreatic cancer, including the death of his uncle and an acquaintance. In looking for answers, he found that one reason for the poor survival rate from pancreatic cancer was the lack of early detection and a rapid, sensitive, inexpensive screening method.
Jack said the idea for his pancreatic cancer test came to him while he was in biology class at North County High School. He then contacted 200 professors at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health with a plan, a budget, and timeline for his project in order to receive laboratory help.
He had received nearly 200 rejection emails before he got a positive reply from Dr. Anirban Maitra, Professor of Pathology, Oncology, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
The result of his project was a new dipstick type diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer using a novel paper sensor, similar to that of the diabetic test strip. This strip tests for the level of mesothelin, a pancreatic cancer biomarker, in blood or urine, to determine whether or not a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. The test is over 90 percent accurate in detecting the presence of mesothelin.
He has patented his method of sensing pancreatic cancer and is communicating with companies about developing an over-the-counter test.