Teen invents groundbreaking cancer test using Google

Macworld Australia Staff
22 August, 2012
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Image via BBC News

Fifteen-year-old high school student Jack Andraka has invented a revolutionary new pancreatic cancer test using online search engine Google as his primary resource.

The US teen recently spoke to the BBC about his  invention that diagnoses pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer in their earlier stages and is 168 times faster, 400 times more sensitive and over 26,000 times less expensive than the current gold-medal standard.

With each strip costing three cents and the test itself taking five minutes, Andraka told the BBC he hopes the invention will allow more medical practitioners to use the technology in their offices on a daily basis.

Andraka’s test works by taking a blood sample applied directly to the strip’s sensor, which is read by two electrodes; A level is then produced, indicating whether cancers are present.

“I definitely could not have done this research and project without the use of the internet”, Andraka tells the BBC.

The student, in particular, used Google to look up cancer statistics and published documents on the disease, allowing him to research the topic and further develop his ideas.

The test is designed to detect cancer in its earlier stages, when effective treatment and survival rates are higher. Andraka’s own family has been affected by pancreatic cancer, a condition with a marginal 5.5 percent survival rate in more advanced cases; the same condition that Apple founder Steve Jobs died from late last year.

Andraka’s invention has the medical and technology fields abuzz, with the project named the winner of Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in May for which he received US$75,000 in prize money, as reported by Forbes.

Andraka is now continuing  his cancer research at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US.

See the full interview with BBC reporter Matt Danzico below:



2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Noah Zerkin says:

    As opposed to Bing?

  2. David says:

    Interesting, but would have been nice to see some proof of this claim. I far as I know there is no gold standard screening test for cancers like ovarian or pancreatic which is what makes it so hard to pick up and why they have such a poor prognosis. If what he is developing is as effective as he states then this would indeed be a great breakthrough in the fight against cancer

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