Jack Andraka, 15, Creates Test to Detect Pancreatic Cancer
This year has had its fair share of brilliant, young medical scientists! This past May, a Maryland High School freshman, Jack Andraka, won First Place at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for his research in medical science and the creation of a new test for the detection of human mesothelin (abormal protein) in the serum samples of individuals with pancreatic cancer. Special thanks to my sister for telling me about this!
What is Pancreatic Cancer?
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States, with an incidence of 43,140 cases and 36,800 deaths estimated in 2010. As early diagnosis of a still localized tumor is thought to improve patient outcome, there is a critical need for tools that shorten the diagnostic delay. – Elad Sharon et al. (Source)
Novel tumor markers in pancreatic and biliary adenocarcinoma tissue microarrays (A-C). Weak Labeling of neoplastic epithelium Biliary carcinomas. (D-F) (Read More)
What was Jack Andraka’s Study?
According to the abstract submitted to the ISEF, Andraka created a dispersion of the antibody to human mesothelin and single walled carbon nanotubes. The presence of mesothelin on the filter paper caused a change in conductivity and that change correlated to the concentration of mesothelin. Various concentration samples were then assessed using the novel sensor (filter paper).
Along with the test performing faster, inexpensively, and 100 times more sensitive than other diagnostic tests, the accuracy of diagnosis was 90%! So, what’s the bottom line? Andraka is on a roll and I hope to see more of his research in the future!
Andraka, only 15 years young developed an inexpensive, highly sensitive test that detects the antibody to human mesothelin. (Click Here for the Abstract)
- Elad Sharon et al. Serum mesothelin and megakaryocyte potentiating factor in pancreatic and biliary cancers. Clinical Chemistry & Laboratory Medicine (April 2012), Vol. 50, Issue 4, pp. 721-725.
- Sharon L. Swierczynski, MD, PhD, et al. “Analysis of novel tumor markers in pancreatic and biliary carcinomas using tissue microarrays.” Human Pathology. Vol. 35, Issue 3. (March 2004) pp. 357-366.
- Information regarding the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ONLY High School Students)
- Image of Jack Adraka Excitedly Accepting His Award; “Jack Thomas Andraka,15, Creates Pancreatic Cancer Test” by Danica J. of Spreadit Health
- Image of Jack Adraka with his Presentation Board; “A Teen Scientist Fights Cancer” by Tyrus Cukavac of Scholastic News