I think shear ingenuity is just a modest phrase to describe the 15 years old Jack Andraka who devised a paper sensor that can detect Pancreatic Cancer with these phenomenal features (as a bonus), compared to the current tests, its:
– 168 times faster (takes 5 minutes)
– 400 times more sensitive (than ELISA)
– 90% accurate (25 -50% more than the CA10-9 test)
– 26, 667 times cheaper (costs $3 and 10 tests can be performed per strip)
His test is a simple paper-based dip stick sensor used to test blood or urine specifically for the protein, Mesothelin which indicates the existence of a pancreatic cancer (that is, Mesothelin is a biomarker of Pancreatic Cancer), and is said that it can detect cancer even before it becomes invasive.
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with a five-year survival rate of 5.5%. One reason for this is the lack of a rapid, sensitive, inexpensive screening method.
He was this year’s finalist $75, 000 prize winner of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair which annually showcases jaw-dropping wow innovations by high school students. His previous invention on the fair was focused on environmental issues where he was detecting bioavailable water pollution with glowing bacteria.
And what is his story? Jack Andraka said his friend’s brother was killed by Pancreatic Cancer so it inspired him to focus on the disease, “I became interested in early detection, did a ton of research, and came up with this idea,” he says.
And oh, wish Ipod’s Steve Jobs was still alive (just a reflex thought whisper).
In the meantime, the tech whiz high school student will soon start out on clinical trials with the sensor with renowned Quest Diagnostics and hopefully get the product on the market within 10 years.
P.S- Secondary School is our Nigerian equivalent of High School.