When I was 15, the biggest problems I had to deal with were acne, grades and maybe the occasional girl. Jack Andraka, a kid from Maryland, has come up with a way to diagnose some forms of cancer through a simple test involving a piece of filter paper treated with a solution of carbon nanotubes modified to detect particular antibodies that are known markers for different kinds of cancer. The test method developed by Andraka is 168 times faster, 26,667 times cheaper and 400 times more sensitive than existing tests. The sensitivity of the test means that it is able to detect cancers before they are any problem to the patient, and as the key to cancer survival is early detection, this might be a godsend to millions upon millions of people around the world.
Though not the first person to discover this method of cancer detection, the fact that this young man was able to do it, more or less on his own, without much of a lab or anything behind him is amazing. It restores my faith in the human teenager and could mean a promising world for the rest of us old fogeys and everyone else. Read more about this amazing science whiz kid HERE.
Photo via the BBC