Look: US teen prodigy invents affordable skin cancer treatment soap

The 14-year-old student won the title of America's Top Young Scientist 2023

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Photo: FCPS
Photo: FCPS

Published: Fri 27 Oct 2023, 8:52 PM

Heman Bekele, a 14-year-old student in Fairfax County, has won the title of America's Top Young Scientist 2023 for inventing an affordable $10 (Dh36.73) soap with potential skin cancer-fighting properties. The invention has earned him a $25,000 (Dh91,825.88) grand prize, as per the official statement.

Bekele's inspiration came from watching people in Ethiopia working under the Sun. When the ‘3M Young Scientist Challenge’ drew near, the freshmen year student decided to focus on skin cancer. Bekele wanted his idea to be accessible, convenient, and trustworthy, aiming for it to become a constant in people's lives.


Photo: fairfaxcounty/X
Photo: fairfaxcounty/X

“Skin cancer is mostly found in people who live within developing countries,” Bekele said. “But the average price for an operation is $40,000. I was devastated by the idea of people having to choose between treatment and putting food on the table for their families. There are so many preventable deaths,” he added.

Photo: fairfaxcounty/X
Photo: fairfaxcounty/X

Fairfax County has also shared pictures of Bekele on X (formerly Twitter).


Bekele's creation of the cancer-fighting soap involved infusing medicinal soap with three specific ingredients known to reactivate dendritic cells, which are essential for generating an immune response against cancer, the statement mentioned.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Bekele has self-taught programming skills, including expertise in Python, Lua, JavaScript, and C. Bekele describes himself as someone who is passionate about medicine, programming, and making a meaningful impact.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020, more than 1.5 million cases of skin cancer were diagnosed worldwide, with over 120,000 deaths attributed to skin cancer.

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