Teenager develops cheap and effective breakthrough cancer test

Cheap effective cancer test for pancreatic cancer
Many people write to CANCERactive asking why so much money seems to be spent on cancer research and yet so little seems to be achieved. An American teenager, Jack Andreka, has every right to feel the same way. 



The 15 year old was taking it easy in a biology class and reading a few articles about antibodies and then carbon nanotubes and the use of biosensors. He started thinking and came up with an idea. Searching the internet the idea took more shape and led him to develop a cancer test for pancreatic cancer that is 168 times faster, more than 1,200 times less expensive and 400 times more sensitive than the current ’gold standard’ test. He became interested because a number of family members had had cancer and particularly pancreatic cancer.



Having developed his idea he wrote to 200 Professors at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore and received 199 rejections. But the one acceptance (by Dr. Anirban Maitra, Professor of Pathology, Oncology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) saw him develop his idea in the University’s laboratories and it works. His test involves taking a small blood sample and using a ’sensor’ - current from two electrodes - to establish whether or not early cancer cells are present. The cost is about 3 cents and the test takes less than 5 minutes. Importantly it detects cancer at a much earlier stage and may be relevant to at least three cancers. Early diagnosis may be associated with over 50 per cent survival rates in two cancers and 29 per cent survival in the very dangerous disease of pancreatic cancer.
A biotech firm is now talking to Andreka about clinical trials and gaining FDA approval.

Jack won $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May for his idea says that it simply would not have been possible without the Internet and Googlesearch.  

Comment: At CANCERactive we have written several articles on the ineffectiveness, the false positive readings, misdiagnosis and even how tests such as mammography and the PSA test do ’more harm than good’. These are not simply our views but those of the Nordic Cochrane Centre and several American cancer centres. 

Yet cancer bodies in the UK persist in saying that we are ’beating cancer’ because of better diagnosis and drugs. 

The self-perpetuating mythology is all too evident when people like Jack Andreka come along. 

Will there come a time in the future when breast and prostate cancers can be detected in a five minute test at your GP’s at a much earlier stage than currently, and then patients can go for localized hyperthermia (even in their lunch hour as the Karolinska Institute claimed after their clinical trials)? We hope so. What we have at the moment is such a huge waste of money with so much unnecessary hurt, damage and stress caused to people with cancer. 


July - September Cancer Watch
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