15-Year-Old Science buff Invents Pancreatic Cancer test, has 100% Accuracy Rate for Detection
Maybe the name Jack Andraka doesn’t mean anything to you, but I am confident that you would like to hear about this man.
In these times, when gaining Instagram popularity and followers are the two most important things to young people all over the world, this young guy decided to do something much different. And he was surely celebrated for this (although not as much as he should be for what he invented.)
Namely, at his young age of only fifteen years old, this young boy created something that would have the power to save millions of lives.
Jack Andraka invented something that would have the ability to detect one of the most dangerous diseases of modern time – cancer. To be more exact, Jack created a fantastic device that had the ability to detect pancreatic cancer. This machine could detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages which meant that it was able to make the difference between life and death.
Located in Crownsville, Maryland, young Jack decided to take on this challenge after a close friend of his died from this ruthless and scary disease. At only fifteen, Jack understood that the late detection of pancreatic cancer meant that you were sentenced to death. At least that was the case with the bigger portion of the people who were suffering from this disease.
This was when Jack started his adventure on trying to invent a machine that would be able to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages. After only a bit of research, Jack found out that the most recent and modern machine similar to the one he was trying to build was nearly sixty years old. And, any sane person would realize that this is not acceptable, especially when we’re talking about life or death situation!
So, his mission was to create a machine that would give 168 times faster results, 26 000 cheaper, as well as a device that would have four hundred times higher sensitivity than the previous one. His most important goal was to make the machine with one hundred percent accuracy. The previous one offers only seventy percent accuracy.
In a “National Geographic” interview, the 15-year-old Jack Andraka stated that he made the discovery only using a smartphone, laptop, and the help of the internet.
He decided that his first step would be to find and isolate a molecule that would be used as a biomarker of pancreatic cancer. This biomarker would’ve occurred during the early stage of the scary disease. Needless to say, Jack was successful. But, can you imagine how many tries did he need to be successful? Only four thousand attempts. Yes, he located his biomarker on the four thousandth try.
At the time when he managed to find the biomarker, in his science class, his classmates were just learning about antibodies – molecules that would bind with one protein.
This is what sparked his idea to use these two things in order to find the antibody which he would later use as the mesothelin biomarker binder.
It helped him come up with the theory that if he would interweave antibodies with nanotubes, this might detect high levels of mesothelin. Mesothelin is oftentimes found in blood samples of people suffering from early-stage pancreatic cancer.
And, finally, the time for putting his theory to the test came. But, as you would imagine, this kind of tests can’t be done anywhere. So, Andraka needed to save up some money in order to start his tests. He wrote down all of the necessary things that he needed, and he planned out the timeline and the procedure. Once he was done, he sent all of his information and data to more than 200 researchers and hoped that one of them would grant him their lab space.
One hundred ninety-nine of the researches applied to refuse to grant him their lab space, but all he needed was a researcher to say yes. And, he got that, a pancreatic cancer researcher and pathologist at the John Hopkins School of Medicine. His name was Anirban Maitra.
Andraka spends a lot of time in the lab. He went through lots of trial and error, but he finally came up with a good device, and just as he imagined it. It could detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, and it was 100% accurate. Now, he hopes that with a similar concept, his device could detect many other diseases.
This is one great leap in medicine and to think that it has been achieved by a youngster who was driven by the death of his friend, it’s fantastic. He should be the role model that many medical students look up to. He set his mind to doing something, and he managed to come through with it. Help us spread the word by sharing this fantastic achievement on your social media!