Maryland teen creates award-winning pancreatic cancer test

By Andrew Jones
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 11:38 EDT
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High school student Jack Andraka. Screenshot via WBAI-TV.
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A 15-year-old Maryland student arguably had the day of his life Tuesday, winning a prestigious science award for creating a pancreatic cancer test.

According to WBAL-TV, North County High School freshman Jack Andraka became the winner of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his invention after drawing inspiration from his uncle, who died from the disease.

“That’s what’s really cool about science to me — you can affect other people’s lives,” Andraka said. “You can basically do anything with science.”

Andraka created a dipstick sensor that tests blood or urine and detects not only pancreatic cancer, but also lung and ovarian cancer as well. His sensor is 90 percent accurate and is 28 times faster, as well as cheaper. The sensor is also 100 times more sensitive than current tests for the disease

The precocious teenager said he was turned down by 200 researchers before Johns Hopkins University’s Dr. Anirban Maitra took a chance on him and allowed Andraka to develop the sensor in his lab.

“This is, without question, one of the most lethal malignancies known to mankind, and very, very few people who get it survive,” he said. “So, when there is a 15-year-old who writes with that much passion about making an early-detection test for pancreatic cancer, there is no way you cannot hit the reply button.”

Andraka is working on a patent for the invention.

WATCH: Video from WBAI-TV, which was broadcast on April 23, 2012

Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones is a staff writer/reporter for Raw Story. Besides covering politics, he is also a freelance sports journalist, as well as a slam poetry and music artist. You can follow him on Twitter @sluggahjells.
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