Ever think you might have wasted your teen years? How about when you hear of a high school freshman developing potentially life-saving cancer screening tests?
Maryland 15-year-old Jack Andraka spent the past year developing and testing a screening procedure that can detect pancreatic cancer in the earliest stages. His extreme-science project won him the top prize and $75,000 in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
He modeled his test after diabetic testing paper and, according to WBAL-TV, created a dipstick sensor that tests blood or urine. His creation also detects ovarian cancer and lung cancer.
Andraka asked more than 200 researchers to work with him and the only taker was a now very proud Dr. Anirban Maitra. Here’s what he has to say about the project:
“This is, without question, one of the most lethal malignancies known to mankind, and very, very few people who get it survive. 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,” Maitra told 11 News.
The test is more than 90 percent accurate, 28 times cheaper, 28 times faster and also 100 times more sensitive then current screening tests for these types of cancer.
So what’s Andraka’s mom’s secret for raising a kid who can do this? Red-shirting, flashcards and expensive science camps? Nope.
Here’s what she told WBAL about how she raised her kids:
“If they were curious about something, I wouldn’t answer their question. I’d say, ‘Find it out. Do an experiment. Test your hypothesis,’” Jane Andraka said.
Test your hypothesis. I’m totally using that.