Vatican Honors Md. Teen For Breakthrough Pancreatic Cancer Research

CROWNSVILLE, Md.  (WJZ)—A huge honor for a local high school student. Jack Andraka has been honored with an international award at the Vatican for his breakthrough cancer research.

Mary Bubala reports, when it comes to this Maryland teen, screaming was likely involved.

The Maryland teen screamed after winning the $10,000 grand prize at the Intel International Science Fair last year for his discovery that could save millions of lives.

Andraka developed a simple test that detects early stage pancreatic cancer in mice.

He was profiled on CBS “60 Minutes” earlier this year and talked about how he also screamed then when he found out it worked.

“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 went screaming around the lab,” Andraka said.

On Saturday, the 16-year-old Anne Arundel County high school junior was honored at the Vatican with an award given to young people whose work has made them role models.

Andraka, who’s openly gay, says it was a watershed moment for him.

“This award means a lot simply because where it’s coming from, the Vatican. I would never expected to be awarded from there and also it just shows how much the world has grown to accept people who are gay and LBGT, so it’s really amazing,” he said.

Andraka is currently in Berlin, Germany, where he received a standing ovation after he presented his research.

Andraka is currently working with two bio-tech firms to develop his test for pancreatic cancer.

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