Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/16/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Stop fighting cancer, or you'll get detention, young man!

When you were bad in school, you passed notes, whispered to your classmates, chewed gum, and if you are young enough, played on your cell phone when the teacher wasn't looking. Meanwhile, high school sophomore Jack Andraka misbehaves by inventing breakthrough tools for fighting things like pancreatic cancer.

When most kids are playing with their gaming consoles or social networks, Jack Andraka is developing medical solutions in the laboratory.

When most kids are playing with their gaming consoles or social networks, Jack Andraka is developing medical solutions in the laboratory.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/16/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Jack Andraka, pancreatic cancer, test, prodigy


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's no joke. A high school sophomore has invented a cheap, swift, and effective way to detect pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages.

Pancreatic cancer is among the worst of diagnoses because the pancreas is situated well inside the body and any cancer there is difficult to detect. Usually when pancreatic cancer is detected, it is advanced and this makes treatment very difficult. Most victims live less than a year following diagnosis, and only a single digit percentage live for as long as five years.

However, if doctors could detect pancreatic cancer sooner, the survival rate could be much better.

It turns out that when the pancreas suffers cancer, it releases a protein known as mesothelin. However, scientists haven't developed a way to find high levels of mesothelin on a routine basis, such as during a routine physical.

Enter Jack Andraka. As a freshman, Jack was your typical teen prodigy. He was obsessed with carbon nanotubes, tiny cylinders, 1/50,000 the diameter of a human hair, that can conduct electricity better than copper.

His dad, a civil engineer, was using carbon nanotubes in his work to detect pollution in Chesapeake Bay, which piqued his interest in the unique objects.

One day during class, like any good rebel, Jack was sneakily reading a science paper at his desk as his biology teacher lectured about antibodies. His eureka moment came when he realized the nanotubes could be used to detect mesothelin proteins in the blood.

As the Smithsonian explained, "The antibodies would bind to the mesothelin and enlarge. These beefed-up molecules would spread the nanotubes farther apart, changing the electrical properties of the network: The more mesothelin present, the more antibodies would bind and grow big, and the weaker the electrical signal would become."

Jack had just invented the idea of creating a cheap test strip, similar to what diabetic patients use, to cheaply and effectively detect pancreatic cancer. Now, a test that may have cost hundreds of dollars and would invariably be performed too late, could now be done as a matter of routine, for pennies.

Jack wrote up his idea and shared it with 200 research doctors around the nation. He also entered it into a science competition sponsored by the Smithsonian.

For his work, Jack was presented with the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award, worth $75, 000. Meanwhile of the 200 researchers he wrote to, only one responded, Anirban Maitra, a John Hopkins pathologists and an expert on pancreatic cancer.

Maitra become Jack's Mentor, giving him space in his lab to work. It was a move up from a makeshift lab that Jack had in the basement of his home.
Jack is in high demand, the Smithsonian reports, to speak at TED conferences and in other forums, despite the fact he is just a sophomore now. At school, the prodigy is mostly left to his own devices in science class, permitted to work on various projects that challenge him.

It is hoped that Jack will continue to be forward thinking and develop new and unimaginable solutions to significant problems.

Meanwhile, his test strips are being perfected in the lab, after which time he will have to produce a paper for proper peer-review. If that goes well, we could see the test strips come into use in about ten years. It's a long time to wait for sure, but when they do arrive, they will save a great many lives.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Health

Heart pump, size of a golf ball, could change lives of millions of patients Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Retired father-of-three, 63-year-old Harry Chivers suffered a heart attack last year. His health failing, he anxiously awaited for a possible heart transplant when he was offered the chance to become a pioneer in heart health research. Fitted with a heart pump ... continue reading


Do you know what a can of Coke really does to your body? Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Although Coke and sodas are a favorite for people all over the world, sodas are something that slowly changes our health and can lead into a number of diseases from the high amount of processed sugar. Starting from the first 10 minutes after a can of Coke is consumed, ... continue reading


Discovery of five different kinds of prostate cancer heralded as breakthrough Watch

Image of While many men have prostate cancer, it can grow so slowly it might not cause any problems until the patient eventually dies of something else.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered the most common cancer among men can be classified into five types, depending on its DNA. This is a breakthrough in prostate cancer research, and once the type of cancer is identified, the patient's survival rate ... continue reading


8-year-old boy becomes youngest double-hand transplant patient Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Surgeons believe 8-year-old Zion Harvey is the youngest to receive a double-hand transplant. The boy lost both of his hands over a severe infection years ago and opted to go through a transplant with the support of his parents. After the initial success of the ... continue reading


World's first malaria vaccine wins approval from European drug regulators Watch

Image of Mosquirix must first win agreement from African governments as the vaccine only offers only partial protection.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The world's first malaria vaccine is a go with European drug regulators after it was recommended safe and effective for babies at risk of the 'mosquito-born disease' in Africa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Called Mosquirix, the vaccine was developed by ... continue reading


560-pound man sets out to bike across the U.S. to lose weight and save his marriage Watch

Image of [Photo by: ABC News]

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To try to live a healthy life, get a job and save his failing marriage, a 560-pound man decided to embark on a biking journey across the United States. He has already traveled about 90 miles since he started last month and has lost around 60 pounds during the first two ... continue reading


Catholic organization's approach to female reproductive health a 'game changer' Watch

Image of Together with his colleagues, Dr. Thomas Hilgers developed NaPro (Natural Procreative) Technology. In Omaha in 1985, they founded the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, and in 1999 formally created the Creighton Model FertilityCare System.

By Gabrielle Cubera, CNA EWTN News

With the hope of providing authentic and ethical health care for women, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, creator of Natural Procreative Technology, has worked for decades to establish a medical network that studies, understands, and treats the female fertility cycle. Omaha, ... continue reading


Have scientists found the key to shut off aging? New study with worms finds success Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have uncovered how to switch off the aging process, during a recent study with worms, which could possibly lead to the process being successful in humans. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The new study showed that adult cells of worms shortly ... continue reading


New eye drops may soon replace cataract surgery Watch

Image of Vision could cease altogether if cataracts remain untreated. Cataracts cause more blindness worldwide than any other eye condition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inexpensive and easy to administer, a new eye drop may soon make cataract removal surgery obsolete. A frequent bane of existence that afflicts the elderly, the new drops dissolves the clumps of protein that clouds vision. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Cataract ... continue reading


Superhero DNA desired by pharmaceutical researchers for new drugs Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They don't have the ability to fly or come with laser eyes, but there are people who exist today with the "superhero" genes. Similar to the figures portrayed in media, these people have ordinary lives with extraordinary physical abilities because of uncommon biological ... continue reading


All Health News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter