Teen invents a better cancer test

Jack Andraka, 15, won $75,000 Intel science prize for inventing a faster, cheaper, more accurate way to test for pancreatic cancer. He uses a paper test strip like the kind diabetics use to test blood sugar to measure for viruses or antigens.

Andraka may put high school graduation “on hold” to start a company to make nanotube test strips to detect a variety of diseases, writes Bruce Upbin in Forbes.

When he was in grade school, his father, a civil engineer, bought him and his older brother a plastic model river with running water. The boys would throw all kinds of foam boats and objects down the river and see which ones would drown and how different objects would impede the flow. His parents, he says, never really answered any of the questions they had. Go figure it out for yourself, they would say. “I got really into the scientific method of developing a hypothesis and testing it and getting a result and going back to do it again.”

His brother also is a science fair winner.

In addition to classes and math olympics, Andraka competes on the junior national whitewater rafting team and enjoys kayaking.

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