15-Year-Old Creates Better Way to Detect Cancer

Sometimes on Fall Through the Cracks Friday we try to feature funny or quirky news. This week we’re going a different direction by featuring 15-year-old Maryland student Jack Andraka. He’s passionate about science, and recently won the $75,000 grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. He claimed the prize for his work on paper filters and carbon nanotubes, which he used to create a better test for cancer. A full article on Andraka, and the science at play, is available on the Forbes website. From that article, to highlight what is so cool about this discovery…

Andraka’s sensor is 168 times faster, 26,667 times less expensive, and 400 times more sensitive. It can spot the presence of the cancer-linked protein well before the cancer itself becomes invasive. This could save the lives of thousands of pancreatic cancer victims each year. The sensor costs $3 (ELISA can cost up to $800) and ten tests can be performed per strip, with each test taking five minutes. It can be used also to monitor resistance to antibiotics and follow the progression of treatment of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.


Well done Jack.