We all know it too well- cancer is a disease that’s so dreaded and comes when you never expect it. The Big C is truly a silent killer, creeping on you while you are unaware, and suddenly leaps up and consumes you and then suddenly your time is running out. Cancer isn’t just a disease that kills a person’s body- it kills even the spirits of the ill person’s family and friends, even sometimes the hearts of the healthcare workers taking care of the patients. It weakens us, even emotionally; seeing someone pass away from cancer is truly an excruciatingly painful experience. Cancer must stop.  If it could just disappear by a finger’s snap, then no human must be suffering by now.

The human mind is capable of a lot of things. We can create and invent new products to make life easier. We can innovate existing technologies to upgrade, improve, and make it more useful. At the back of these things lies our motivations- what drives us to create and innovate? What pushes us to make our lives better? The mind, the hands and the heart are potent combinations of the human body that are the instruments in creating things that are sustainable and useful for all humankind.

And speaking of innovations..

Well, this might be the answer the entire human race is looking for. A boy found out how to recognize cancer ay the earliest possible time. Yes, you’ve read that right. Don’t rub your eyes because you aren’t dreaming. A boy did it. Still can’t believe it? What scientists have been dying to create, a fifteen-year old boy did.

Meet 15-year old Jack Andraka

A typical boy in his teens, Jack Andraka had no clue as to what a pancreas is. Until one event changed the tide of his life- the death of a beloved family friend, like an uncle that’s so close to him. His death from pancreatic cancer left Jack crushed. Googling the disease, he learned that in 85% of cases, pancreatic cancer was diagnosed when the person had only a slim chance for survival. The realization hit him- late and old methods of cancer detection was the culprit on why cancer patients are not easily identified at the initial stages of the disease. The methods used to diagnose the disease are already 60 years old- outdated as far as Jack is concerned.

The sparks started- and went on and on

He began looking at Google to search for better ways to diagnose pancreatic cancer. He proceeded to look at a unique biomarker that’s present in the bloodstream of even the early stage pancreatic cancer patients. Out of the 8,000 possible proteins, he finally found mesothelin.

After gaining insight on carbon nanotubes in his biology class, Jack set out to create a cancer sensor out of paper. The next few months were filled with hope and doubt, with Jack having to write to scientists and spending months to fill in the blank spaces in his cancer research. His hard work paid off in the long run- he was able to make a cancer sensor that’s three cents worth,  takes only five minutes to complete and gives as close to a hundred percent accuracy even at the beginning stages of the disease, when the person gets a better chance of survival.

Worth it in the end!

Jack Andraka’s priceless work was  recognized and awarded the winner of the Intel International Science Fair. And more than the recognition, his work truly has potential to save lives- giving us hope that anything is possible when we aim high, focus, and stay motivated all throughout the journey. Jack has made a change and will continue to do so until his methods are validated. The fight against The Big C continues- and we are armed with more weapons now, thanks to a teen who believes he can make a difference.

Source/References:

The Hearty Soul

http://www.fi.edu/learn/sci-tech/edison-lightbulb/edison-lightbulb.php?cts=electricity

http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/27/an-early-detection-test-for-pancreatic-cancer-jack-andraka-at-ted2013/

Original Article Source: My Health Maven

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