Jack Andraka of Crownsville, Md., has developed a simple test which allows for detection of mesothelin, a biological indicator for early stage pancreatic cancer. The dip stick test, which can be used with either blood or urine, may revolutionize the treatment and detection of the deadly disease which currently kills 19 out of 20 sufferers due largely to the fact that it is so hard to diagnose before it’s too late.
By using his test, pancreatic cancer patients now have a chance to find out about the disease with enough time to take advantage of medical treatment. Andraka is optimistic that with enough early warning, patients will now have a survival rate that is close to 100 percent.
Similar to the way diabetic testing strips work, Andraka’s test require only a drop of blood to determine whether patients carry the mesothelin biomarker.
The test is believed to be 90 percent accurate, provides instant results and costs only three cents. The test can also be used to find other types of the disease, including ovarian and lung cancer, but that’s not all.
“What’s so cool about that is its applicability to other diseases…for example other forms of cancer, tuberculosis, HIV, environmental contaminants like E Coli, salmonella,” said Andraka.“All for three cents for a test that takes five minutes to run.”
Andraka’s breakthrough nearly didn’t happen. The teen asked 197 scientists for help with his research and was turned down each time. Luckily he eventually contacted Dr. Anirban Maitra, a professor of pathology and oncology at Johns Hopkins University, who actually gave him lab space and served as a mentor during the test’s development.
Andraka is hoping to get the test in the hands of as many people as possible. “'Essentially what I’m envisioning here is that this could be on your shelf at your Walgreens, your Kmart,” he said. “Instead of your doctor being the doctor, you’re the doctor.”
Last month, Andraka, 15, won $75,000 in scholarship funds at the 2012 Intel Science Fair for his invention.
Source: (The Daily Mail)