This man developed a cancer test that will cost you only 3

Alvin R. Cabral/Dubai
Filed on November 21, 2016
Jack Andraka, Award Winning Inventor, Scientist, STEM Advocate and Cancer Researcher at the Innovation Live at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai on Monday, November 21, 2016. Photo by Dhes Handumon

His method is 26,000 times cheaper, 168 times faster, 400 times more sensitive and up to 50 per cent more accurate than standard tests.

While his classmates were spending the summer either swimming or camping, Jack Andrada was locked in his room doing something most normal youths may not even dream of doing during vacation time: researching 8,000 types of proteins.


It all started when an uncle of his died of pancreatic cancer when he was 13 years old. And since 85 per cent of pancreatic cancers were detected late and had a measly two per cent chance of survival, he asked himself, why it couldn't be done in a better way so more lives could be saved?

"'Why are we so bad with this cancer', I told myself at that time," the inventor, scientist, STEM advocate and cancer researcher said at Innovation Live in Dubai.

He was so determined with his research that he was able to develop a new type of early-stage detector for pancreatic, ovarian and lung that costs only three US cents and takes only five minutes to do.

He says that on his 4,000th try, he discovered the protein that could aid him in his mission. He thus developed a sensor similar to those used in diabetes that measures mesothelin levels to test cancer presence in an individual.

The numbers tell the story: his method is 26,000 times cheaper, 168 times faster, 400 times more sensitive and up to 50 per cent more accurate than standard tests.

Oh, and he was only 15 years old when he accomplished the feat.

Now 19, Andraka continues his research and advocacy on cancer awareness. He continues to collaborate with industry personalities and, most importantly, the technology that indeed plays a major role in his work.

And it all boils down to one word: innovation.

And while he's been recognised for his work, he's also had his fair share of critics and naysayers - some really harsh - but he remains undeterred.

"It doesn't matter how many people know me or what I do; what matters is the number of lives that can be saved," he said.

"For a 13-year-old not to know what a pancreas was being able to be able to develop a solution for it, it shows that we can do anything," he said.

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