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Jack Andraka, the Teen Prodigy of Pancreatic Cancer

by OmCheeto
Tags: andraka, jack, pancreatic, prodigy, teen
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Apr26-14, 12:19 PM
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I saw a video of Jack on Upworthy this morning. Interesting kid.
Jack Andraka: 15 Year-Old Baltimore Student Develops 'Groundbreaking' Diagnostic Test for Pancreatic Cancer
After his uncle died of pancreatic cancer, Jack (then a ninth grader) became interested in finding a better early-detection diagnostic test. Exploring material from his biology class on analytical methods using carbon nanotubes, and searching online scientific journals, he began to formulate ideas. He discovered that the lack of a rapid, low-cost early screening method contributed to the poor survival rate among individuals with pancreatic cancer. After thinking further about the problem, he came up with a plan and a budget to put his ideas in motion.

He contacted about 200 research professionals at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health about his plan. He got 197 rejection letters and then finally got an acceptance from Dr. Anirban Maitra, Professor of Pathology, Oncology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who became his mentor. It was at Dr. Maitra's lab where Jack developed his test.

The results of Jack's diagnostic test were published on the website of the Society for Science and the Public, and he has spoken before such organizations as the American Society of Clinical Pathologists on his findings.
I read several articles about him. Someone at Forbes said they didn't include him in their "30 under 30" list, because he'd never published in a peer reviewed journal, nor were his numerical claims correct.

I thought that was kind of lame. He was 15! Give him a break!

Ha! Just found this:

How did you find the lab space to carry out your experiments?

I was kind of a stalker. I went online to all the directories [at area universities] and looked at all the research interests of the scientists. All the ones who were interested in pancreatic cancer I e-mailed 200 of them. Some wrote back very mean stuff. In big red ink, like this is the worst idea ever. But one Dr. Anirban Maitra took a chance on me.
If I were Jack, I'd photocopy the $75,000 check, send it to the mean scientists, and write on it "Ha ha!"

ps. My thanks to Dr. Maitra, for being a great mentor.
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Apr26-14, 09:46 PM
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Its always good to hear stories like this.

The down side of course, is that now you'll have a small set of teenagers who will feel as if their lives are over I they can't get to work in a university lab.
Apr29-14, 03:13 PM
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The worst idea ever could be a revolutionizing idea, I hope it will be the latter!

May2-14, 12:08 PM
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Jack Andraka, the Teen Prodigy of Pancreatic Cancer

I first heard about Jack Andraka on 60 Minutes a few months ago, and was really impressed both by his ability to work and develop the test for pancreatic cancer (which will have tremendous benefit to patients), and just in general for his passion and energy. I really wish him all the best on his future endeavours, and should really look out for him to achieve more great things in his life!

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