Reporting Mary Bubala
CROWNSVILLE, Md. (WJZ)—He’s just 15, but a local teen is in the national spotlight.
Mary Bubala has more on the scientific phenom.
They call him boy wonder in cancer research circles. The local teen from Anne Arundel County is in the national spotlight after millions learned Jack Andraka made a major discovery that could save millions of lives.
It’s not every day a 15-year-old is profiled on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
But Andraka is not your ordinary high school student.
The Crownsville teen is a scientific phenom.
“What I found is 80 percent of all these cancers are diagnosed late,” he said.
Andraka made a radical discovery after a close family friend died of pancreatic cancer.
Using the Internet and experiments, he found a paper sensor can detect the presence of pancreatic cancer in blood early and inexpensively.
But his idea was rejected by 199 scientists.
“He had to persist because even his parents thought this was too much. You know he was 14, and I was like ‘Dude, you are not going to get a lab. You are 14,’” his mother said.
But he did. A researcher at the Johns Hopkins Cancer Center gave him a shot and lab space to test his theory.
“I realized this was actually working, like it was working amazingly because it was passing all of these preliminary tests and I run out and pretty much screaming around the lab,” Andraka said.
Andraka screamed all the way to the stage when his discovery won the grand prize at the Intel International Science Fair last year.
Now the company has made a commercial featuring him.
Andraka now speaks at medical conferences worldwide, and he champions pancreatic cancer research.
On his Facebook page, he says he hopes his appearance on “60 Minutes” shines a light on the struggle and the need for more research and funding.
Andraka hopes to work with a pharmaceutical company to set up clinical trials for his discovery, which he now holds the patent on.
Andraka has already come up with a new diagnostic invention and is competing in a new contest against 300 other teams. All of them are made up of adult researchers.
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