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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:27 AM

Did This 15-Year-Old Kid Just Change the Course of Medicine?

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Jack Andraka was moved by the frustrating realities of pancreatic cancer, a particularly lethal form of the disease, after a family friend passed away from it. But it wasn't until he was sitting in class sometime later that a solution struck him. Andraka tells TakePart, “I came up with the idea when I was in science class. I was supposed to be paying attention, but then I had this epiphany.”

What’s so revolutionary about Andraka's epiphany, aside from possibly being the most inexpensive medical test ever devised, is that current methods for pancreatic cancer detection are woefully ineffective—for the most part, they're unable to uncover the presence of the disease until it’s in its final stages, long after it could respond to treatment. That's why the American Cancer Society reports that on average, the one-year survival rate for a patient is just 20 percent, and the five-year rate is a dismal four percent.

...........snip.......................

But this is about more than pancreatic cancer. Andraka explains his strips can be altered to detect biomarkers for other conditions as well. “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,” he says. “All for three cents for a test that takes five minutes to run.”

He has big plans to turn the medical community on its ear by mass marketing his work, making it widely available. He says, “Essentially what I’m envisioning here is that this could be on your shelf at your Walgreens, your Kmart. Let’s say you suspect you have a condition…you buy the test for that. And you can see immediately if you have it. Instead of your doctor being the doctor, you’re the doctor.” The teenager reports that he’s already in talks with major corporations like LabCorp and QuestDiagnostics to bring his kits to store shelves “as soon as possible,” though how long that may actually take isn’t yet known.


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Reply Did This 15-Year-Old Kid Just Change the Course of Medicine? (Original post)
Celebration Jan 2013 OP
Scuba Jan 2013 #1
sinkingfeeling Jan 2013 #2
Old Codger Jan 2013 #3
Xipe Totec Jan 2013 #4
Sugarcoated Jan 2013 #5
ColumbusLib Jan 2013 #60
tclambert Jan 2013 #6
ajk2821 Jan 2013 #10
AllyCat Jan 2013 #11
Dawgs Jan 2013 #34
Duppers Jan 2013 #42
DeSwiss Jan 2013 #50
Warpy Jan 2013 #51
DeSwiss Jan 2013 #55
brush Jan 2013 #7
calimary Jan 2013 #73
Flying Squirrel Jan 2013 #8
AllyCat Jan 2013 #9
Moostache Jan 2013 #36
Dustlawyer Jan 2013 #45
AllyCat Jan 2013 #59
MicaelS Jan 2013 #23
justabob Jan 2013 #27
loudsue Jan 2013 #28
dixiegrrrrl Jan 2013 #35
Moostache Jan 2013 #37
a kennedy Jan 2013 #12
snort Jan 2013 #13
chervilant Jan 2013 #65
snort Jan 2013 #69
chervilant Jan 2013 #71
snort Jan 2013 #72
Bay Boy Jan 2013 #14
NYC_SKP Jan 2013 #15
Dustlawyer Jan 2013 #46
2on2u Jan 2013 #52
Dustlawyer Jan 2013 #68
2on2u Jan 2013 #74
ChazInAz Jan 2013 #16
loudsue Jan 2013 #29
joanbarnes Jan 2013 #17
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #21
Smilo Jan 2013 #18
FailureToCommunicate Jan 2013 #19
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #20
loudsue Jan 2013 #30
progressoid Jan 2013 #33
grahamhgreen Jan 2013 #54
annabanana Jan 2013 #22
SunSeeker Jan 2013 #24
DallasNE Jan 2013 #25
skepticscott Jan 2013 #38
ReRe Jan 2013 #26
eppur_se_muova Jan 2013 #31
skepticscott Jan 2013 #39
Celebration Jan 2013 #40
donco Jan 2013 #32
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #41
Celebration Jan 2013 #43
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #44
Celebration Jan 2013 #49
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #56
Celebration Jan 2013 #62
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #70
Celebration Jan 2013 #75
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #76
Celebration Jan 2013 #77
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #78
Celebration Jan 2013 #79
BlueStreak Jan 2013 #80
riverbendviewgal Jan 2013 #47
valerief Jan 2013 #48
elias7 Jan 2013 #53
mchill Jan 2013 #57
WinstonSmith4740 Jan 2013 #58
Thor_MN Jan 2013 #61
Sherman A1 Jan 2013 #63
tomp Jan 2013 #64
deutsey Jan 2013 #66
Orrex Jan 2013 #67
Carepilot Jul 2013 #81
Name removed Feb 2014 #82

Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:32 AM

1. "What motivates me is that 100 people die every day from pancreatic cancer. And so ...

"What motivates me is that 100 people die every day from pancreatic cancer. And so when I'm working I think those 100 people are who I'm working for today."




Jack Andraka created a simple dip-stick sensor to test for levels of mesothelin, which is a biomarker for early-stage pancreatic cancer that’s found in blood and urine. The method is similar to diabetic testing strips, utilizing just a pinprick of blood and costing all of three cents to make.




Bravo Jack!

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:46 AM

2. Wow! What a brilliant kid!

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:52 AM

3. As Joe would say

This is a BFD

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 09:54 AM

4. Nobel Prize Material nt

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:12 AM

5. If this works

I hope it can be made to detect ovarian cancer early.

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Response to Sugarcoated (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:56 PM

60. Amen to that

My Mom could still be alive today...

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:25 AM

6. For it to work with pancreatic cancer, you have to take the test when you show no symptoms.

So why would you take the test? You would have to add it and all the others to the tests done during a routine physical. Okay, it's cheap enough to do that. Please proceed.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:49 AM

10. If you have a history of cancer

My family recently has had several types of cancer aggressively appear where none did before. I and my brothers have all gone through every test we can think of to establish a baseline for ourselves. This sounds a lot less intrusive than the colonoscopy I did.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:49 AM

11. You have missed the point.

Men, historically, are the least likely to go to the doctor for many reasons. So here, a partner could encourage inexpensive testing from the local drug store. No one misses work. Early detection. Early piece of mind.

You don't have to be sick to have a disease process going on. Would probably need an ad campaign/PSA or something, but many lives could be saved if they tested themselves once a year at home.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:58 PM

34. My Dad died of pancreatic cancer last year and my Uncle had it before him.

You know why people would take the test, even without symptoms. Don't be so deliberate, okay.

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Response to tclambert (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:27 PM

42. if it's inexpensive enough

Why wouldn't most adults ck themselves, say every couple of years?

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Response to tclambert (Reply #6)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:22 PM

50. At 3 cents a strip, that's cheap enough to buy on a whim.

Besides, the cancers he's developing these strips to identify are all best treated successfully when caught early. Not too late to matter.

- And, three cents. It was in the article.

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #50)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:37 PM

51. The only way to market it is through multiple strips

and at the usual medical markup. They might cost three cents apiece to manufacture, but not when you add in the costs of rigid QC, marketing, shipping, and the rest of it.

Likely laboratories will buy these strips by the thousand and use them for routine bloodwork for everyone as part of general screening during physicals. I don't see this stuff being available at Walgreen's unless it's marketed as part of a multi strip package that detects a whole range of diseases.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #51)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 08:12 PM

55. I wasn't responding to the issues of marketing, costs, shipping.....

...etc. Nor anything else related to the existing perverted system of medical care delivery. The poster's statement I was responding to was:

''For it to work with pancreatic cancer, you have to take the test when you show no symptoms.''

So it was my point that no matter how it's delivered, what other expenses and/or ''costs'' are tacked onto it -- three cents is still three cents. And at that price, with or without the additional expenses, almost anyone can afford to buy a disease test strip or to get a cheap costing test from the medical institution du jour.

Which is a much, much better plan than waiting until the cancer is a certainty using the current testing methods, which are almost always too late to treat effectively -- as the article stated.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:26 AM

7. BRAVO, young man! nt

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Response to brush (Reply #7)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 02:13 PM

73. And the children shall lead...

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:31 AM

8. Just think of those greedy bastards scheming how to take this away from him

I hope his parents were smart enough to get a patent lawyer right off the bat.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:46 AM

9. The bittersweet aspect of this whole thing is that you are probably right.

They make it for 3 cents or heck, even 2.5 cents and sell it for $900 by prescription only so you can do your part to fuel their profits and the Medical Industrial Complex.

I hope this kid gets all the credit.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:19 PM

36. Everyone knows the solution to this problem....NATIONALIZED HEALTH CARE....

And yet we still cannot get a public option for insurance.

The basic research that should be done in medical testing and in sciences in general is a benefit to all of society, but the way it happens now is brilliant people have an insight and make a contribution only to see it immediately snapped up and patented and the profits go to a CEO who "works" 5 hours a month and hob-nobs the rest of the time.

As in all aspects of our doomed "civilization", we can find endless piles of money for invasions, war, killing and weapons...but when its time for spending money on something like basic medical research or even more fundamental science research, suddenly the cries of poverty and government intrusion are deafening. Same in any industry - energy, food, insurance, you name it.

Maybe I will be lucky enough to live to see the political visionaries that lead us out of these pseudo Dark Ages...I had hoped it would be Obama, and he has at least taken the foot off the accelerator to doom, but sadly the car is not turning and that hair-pin turn in the road is coming up alarmingly fast...

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Response to Moostache (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:45 PM

45. Additionally, they only go for "treatments," not cures!

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Response to Moostache (Reply #36)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:54 PM

59. Yup.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:50 AM

23. I'm willing to bet the insurance industry will welcome this.

With open arms. They will be thinking of all the money they can save by early detection and treatment, instead of having to pay for transplants.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:07 PM

27. what I was just thinking reading through

this kid needs to keep this discovery his own if at all possible. If big medico/pharma gets a hold of it, a 3 dollar test will cost 3000 before the ink is even dry.

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Response to justabob (Reply #27)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:21 PM

28. That's so true...plus, they may just try to keep it off the shelves altogether.

They make too much money keeping everyone sick.

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Response to Flying Squirrel (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:58 PM

35. Lab Corp has been charged with illegal kickbacks to drs

So I am hoping he can find a reputable business for his product.

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Quest Diagnostics Incorporated (Quest) and Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), the nation's two largest laboratories, are currently involved in a multi-billion dollar Medicare scam, according to a lengthy and critical expose published in one of the medical laboratory industry's leading trade publications.
The scam works like this: Quest and LabCorp provide kickbacks to private insurance companies – in the form of deeply-discounted and sometimes below-cost lab fees. In exchange, the insurance companies pressure doctors in their networks to send all of their patients' lab work, including Medicare and Medicaid patients, to either Quest or LabCorp. The labs fund the kickbacks (lower lab fees for private insurance patients) by overcharging Medicare and Medicaid patients anywhere from 70% to 500% higher. For example, Quest charged the State of California $8.59 for a complete blood test, but billed private insurers only $1.43.
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/medicare-scam-by-quest--labcorp-exposed-says-npt-associates-143970756.html

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #35)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 01:20 PM

37. Those responsible for the fraud should be in prison for life - General Population. (n/t)

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:57 AM

12. Holy cow, how awesome is this kid......holy crap.

OMGosh, love him and his epiphany!!!

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:14 AM

13. Sure.

Like the pharmaceuticals hadn't thought of this yet. If people aren't sick and dieing then there goes the profit! They don't want prevention, they want sick people who won't argue about the price of a pill.

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Response to snort (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:52 AM

65. Which is why

they never talk about plant based diets.

I have been a Vegan for almost a year now, specifically because of health concerns and no insurance. I cannot quantify how much better I feel. AND, I have lost weight -- two sizes, at least.

The AMA and Big Pharma (and Agri-business?) would rather we continue to over-consume animal products and processed foods. They make a pill to regulate cholesterol rather than tell you how to eat healthy and exercise.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #65)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:46 AM

69. Ditto on the veggies.

I've been off the meat for about 5 years now and most definitely feel better for it all the way around. I lost some weight as well!

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Response to snort (Reply #69)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 12:44 PM

71. I find it ironic

that so many of my friends and family are quick to denigrate my decision. They routinely try to feed me animal products.

I made some Vegan granola yesterday, for a quick breakfast, and it's yummy, but quite filling. All my ingredients are organic.

I am also walking these hills and hope to resume power walking four miles a day.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #71)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:01 PM

72. Strange, isn't it?

I've had family members react as if I had started doing something abnormal or UN-American.

Ditto on the exercise as well. Lucky me, I get to take my hikes in the Grand Canyon and around the base of the Vermillion Cliffs. It is simply stunning and though I get tired I never tire of it.

If you ever get a chance, I would highly recommend it.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:18 AM

14. As an over the counter item...

...I wonder how many people would purchase this. The ones I can think of are people with family histories of pancreatic cancer and I suppose that by itself is enough reason. I just don't see a spur of the moment "Hey I always wondered if I had pancreatic cancer" purchase.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:24 AM

15. The medical industry would take this three cent product, patent it, charge $1,200 a piece.

Fuckers.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #15)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:50 PM

46. There is a treatment for my "small fiber sensory neuropathy," but it but you need 4 treatments in

the first 4 days, then 1 every 2 months for life. I would not suffer from the severe, constant pain i have in my arms, hands, legs and feet once on the treatment. Did i mention that they cost $15,000 per treatment!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #46)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:37 PM

52. You might could read here....

 

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #52)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:04 AM

68. Thanks, I have not seen this site before!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #68)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:41 PM

74. They are talking about Lipoic Acid there, you can search for a doc familiar with its uses if

 

you like.

http://www.amazon.com/Alpha-Lipoic-Acid-Breakthrough-Antioxidant/dp/0761514570/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359596426&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lipoic+acid+breakthrough

5.0 out of 5 stars Encouraging for Diabetics February 26, 2000
By A Customer
Formataperback
I began taking a-lipoic acid and achieving great results before this book was published. It was encouraging to finally read a book that validated my experience with lipoic acid. This book explains a-lipoic acid in layman's terms and sheds light on the value of this nutrient. As a Type I diabetic of 36 years, I have essentially reversed diabetic neuropathy by taking 900 mg of a-lipoic acid per day. I highly encourage diabetics to research a-lipoic acid especially if suffering from neuropathy. This book is a great start.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:25 AM

16. A lifesaver.

If this had been around in 2009, we could have licked the C-dif that killed my wife before it got so thoroughly established.
More power to the inventor!

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Response to ChazInAz (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:23 PM

29. I'm so sorry for your loss, Chaz.

I hope other families can some day avoid a loss like that.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:29 AM

17. I fear the Medical-Industrial complex will quash this, but I hope he succeeds.

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Response to joanbarnes (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:48 AM

21. They already have with HIV "Orasure" 5 minute tests.

So I imagine your right

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:31 AM

18. Thank you Jack

you are going to save a lot of lives with these strips.

Your family must be so proud of you. Here on DU - we are cheering you on - here's to much more success in the future.









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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:34 AM

19. My younger brother went from healthy to dead in 7 months because of pan-can. If this

test works, and becomes widely - and inexpensively- available... kudos forever to this kid!

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:41 AM

20. We already have 5 minute HIV tests, but OTC sale is prohibited.

We even started a company to sell these over the counter in Thailand in 1999, but were rebuffed by the medical industry.

Currently, you don't even need blood, they work on saliva.

They should be in every 7-11 next to the condoms - why aren't they?

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:24 PM

30. Because stupid people keep voting for republicans, and they appoint assholes to the bench

and the judges and legislatures keep protecting corporate profits over the welfare of the people.

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Response to grahamhgreen (Reply #20)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:41 PM

33. Isn't OraQuick an OTC test?

I saw it advertised on the television machine a couple days ago.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #33)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:42 PM

54. Yes! I'll be, they finally got it on the market (in the US), shockingly it's $40 !!!!!

I think they make them for less than $1

But, at least you can test at home. However the price point needs to be $5, IMHO

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:49 AM

22. LabCorp and QuestDiagnostics

Are NOT his friends.. or OURS.

I would sooner throw the research out the window than let the like of them patent it, raise the price so only the 1% can afford it, and keep it away form us for the next 50 years.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:52 AM

24. K&R

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:57 AM

25. The Accuracy Of The Tests Will Determine

The degree to which this is a breakthrough. My hope is that it will be 100%. Since the concept is not new I have to wonder why others have not moved in this direction a long time ago, making me a skeptic.

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Response to DallasNE (Reply #25)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:22 PM

38. Exactly

No test is 100% accurate. They all have false positive and false negative rates, especially when self-administered, as people seem to be envisioning this one.

And yes, I doubt this kid discovered that this was a marker for PC all by himself, and the idea of dip test strips is old. At the very least, there's more to be told than in the linked article,

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:01 PM

26. Young Jack Andraka....

K&R

....reminds me of recently departed Aaron Swartz. Both young, both giving life to their wildest brilliant imaginings, desiring to bring social change for good on a global scale.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:28 PM

31. Not a single detail of how the test actually works.

I guess they have a low opinion of their readers' intelligence, or at least their curiousity.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 02:27 PM

39. The article tells people

a lot of things they like to hear, among them that someone working alone has discovered something that all those "know-it-all" scientists couldn't, and that a "little guy" is going to undercut Big Pharma (or Big Oil, or Big Media, or whatever). It also lets their paranoia and conspiracy-mongering get a running start.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #31)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 03:24 PM

40. If you are curious

Use Google???

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Jack-Andraka-the-Teen-Prodigy-of-Pancreatic-Cancer-179996151.html?c=y&page=2

The Science paper he was covertly reading at his desk was about applications for nanotubes. With half an ear, Andraka listened to his biology teacher lecture on antibodies, which bind to particular proteins in the blood. Suddenly, the two ideas collided in his mind. What if he could lace a nanotube network with mesothelin-specific antibodies, then introduce a drop of a pancreatic cancer patient’s blood? The antibodies would bind to the mesothelin and enlarge. These beefed-up molecules would spread the nanotubes farther apart, changing the electrical properties of the network: The more mesothelin present, the more antibodies would bind and grow big, and the weaker the electrical signal would become. Other scientists had recently designed similar tests for breast and prostate cancers, but nobody had addressed pancreatic cancer. “It’s called connecting the dots,” Maitra says.

Andraka wrote up an experimental protocol and e-mailed it to 200 researchers. Only Maitra responded. “It was a very unusual e-mail,” he remembers. “I often don’t get e-mails like this from postdoctoral fellows, let alone high-school freshmen.” He decided to invite Andraka to his lab. To oversee the project, he appointed a gentle postdoctoral chemist, who took the baby-sitting assignment in stride. They expected to see Andraka for perhaps a few weeks over the summer.


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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:31 PM

32. What i like about this kid

is his thought process. ("What motivates me is that 100 people die every day from pancreatic cancer. And so when I'm working I think those 100 people are who I'm working for today." )

BRAVO!! Hope that he keeps that.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 03:24 PM

41. The idea of a simple, low cost test is not novel or especially bright

I read the article twice and I don't see where it says he actually has done anything more than propose the concept. Has he actually created a test strip that has proven to be effective in early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer? If so, that is huge, but I don't see where the article says that.

I want to believe there is something here, but I am not seeing it. Can somebody please show me where this isn't just some kid talking about a fantasy.

And if he has come up with such a test, it is really mind-boggling that all the pharmaceutical companies in the world somehow missed something like this, considering that they all employ a bunch of really smart scientists and all of them instinctively understand the value of early detection.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #41)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:42 PM

43. he won a ton of awards at the Intel competition

also

But sometimes his lack of training yielded elegant solutions. For his test strips, he decided to use simple filter paper, which is absorbent enough to soak up the necessary solution of carbon nano­tubes and mesothelin antibodies, and inexpensive. To measure the electrical change in a sample, he bought a $50 ohmmeter at Home Depot. He and his dad built the Plexiglas testing apparatus used to hold the strips as he reads the current. He swiped a pair of his mom’s sewing needles to use as electrodes.

About 2:30 a.m. one December Sunday, Jane Andraka was jolted from her parking lot stupor by an ecstatic Jack. “He opens the door,” she remembers, “and you know how your kid has this giant smile, and that shine in their eye when something went right?” The test had detected mesothelin in artificial samples. A few weeks later, it pinpointed mesothelin in the blood of mice bearing human pancreatic tumors.


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Jack-Andraka-the-Teen-Prodigy-of-Pancreatic-Cancer-179996151.html#ixzz2JP3bOcPK
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

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Response to Celebration (Reply #43)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:59 PM

44. Thank you for that reference, but something doesn't seem right here

Note this quote:
when his biology teacher confiscated his clandestine reading material on carbon nanotubes, he was in the midst of the epiphany that scientists think has the potential to save lives.


Pardon me. If this thing can detect pancreatic cancer so easily, there would have been hundreds of researchers all over this running tests on patients already diagnosed with the disease, and it seems like we would have heard of at least one case where the test was able to do early detection.

Why is there no mention of the accuracy his invention has shown so far?

And excuse me if I am skeptical that a person can build a particle accelerator in his basement.

Maybe I'm suffering from Manti Te'o overload, but this smells like BS to me. I honestly hope it is not, but I see all sorts of red flags here.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #44)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:41 PM

49. tests have to go through an approval process

And, then, get manufactured, have quality control, etc. Not sure why you think it is suspicious.

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Response to Celebration (Reply #49)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:09 PM

56. Yes, of course before it is brought to market. But what we have here

looks like a kid who said, basically, "I will cure cancer by combining nanotubes with electricity making a test strip that will only cost a few cents."

Look, the kid might be bright. Or he might have a father who is promoting him for sensational purposes. Conspicuously missing from the article were:

1) Any details about the solution

2) Any indication that it is more than just some daydream -- No evidence that even a prototype has been assembled in some crude form and tested successfully

3) Any respected scientist saying something like "Wow, the rest of us are such a bunch of fools. We have been spending billions every year for this and the kid just showed us exactly how we can detect Pancreatic cancer much earlier. Now that we see the solution, we can see it looks like a genuine breakthrough."

Lacking any of those things, it sounds to me like a hype job.

Regarding the Intel award, I don't know anything about that award, but there are lots of science awards given to students based mostly on their attitude and enthusiasm, rather than the demonstration of some fundamental scientific breakthrough. If we required a genuine scientific breakthrough before giving any science awards to high schoolers, there wouldn't be many awards given.

I hope I am completely wrong, but I think not. There are far more charlatans than geniuses.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #56)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:09 AM

62. You don't win the Intel grand prize with hype

Are you familiar with the contest?

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/education/competitions/international-science-and-engineering-fair/winners.html

He is getting the publicity because he is the grand prize winner. They always get publicity. Major publicity.

You can't blame him for whatever the various articles leave out. He is the friggin' INTEL GRAND PRIZE WINNER.

Does that mean nothing to you? A promoting father??? More like an encouraging father.

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Response to Celebration (Reply #62)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 10:00 AM

70. Has the thing successfullly identified the marker in any tests?

If not, then it is a daydream, a "hey, wouldn't it be cool if ..." thing.

If so, why didn't any of the hundreds of articles mention that "minor detail"?

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #70)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 09:33 AM

75. yes they did mention the marker in some of the articles

You can use Google to find it.

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Response to Celebration (Reply #75)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:31 AM

76. AFAIK, none of the articles said that this kid's science project

has actually been used to identify that marker reliably. The articles I read didn't even say it was LIKELY to improve on our ability to identify the market. It just said, essentially "wouldn't it be cool if we used some nanotubes and knitting needles and a battery to cure cancer."

But no point arguing about this. I need to go install the new magnets that just arrived. They will improve my gas mileage by 30%.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #76)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:22 PM

77. LOL

Like high school kids have the money for placebo controlled double blind studies, filtered through the FDA.



Why in the heck do you think he had to involve Quest?

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Response to Celebration (Reply #77)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:44 PM

78. I'm not talking a complete FDA test. I'm talking about a single demonstration

Is there some reason he would have trouble obtaining a blood sample of a patient already diagnosed with pancreatic cancer?

It seems to me that there must be some expert in the field who: a) would have been all over that, and b) would be willing to stand up and say that the idea has real merit. I don't even see that in any of the articles. Just "I bet if we use nanotubes and some electricity we'll cure cancer."

As others have pointed out, this has now been out there 6 months. If it were really as described, there would be all sorts of news about this by now. Because, as it turns out, there actually is a lot of interest in finding real cures for cancer.

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Response to BlueStreak (Reply #78)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:11 PM

79. Do you know how to use Google?

Have you heard of Wikipedia?

If you are interested in a subject, and want more answers to your questions, has it occurred to you to use them?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Andraka

Andraka cultured MIA PaCa cells, from a commercial pancreatic carcinoma cell line, which overexpress mesothelin, a biomarker for pancreatic cancer. The mesothelin was isolated, concentrated and quantified with ELISA. After optimization with the Western Blot assay, the human mesothelin-specific antibodies were mixed with single walled carbon nanotubes and used to coat strips of ordinary filter paper. This made the paper conductive. The optimal layering was determined using a scanning electron microscope. Cell media spiked with varying amounts of mesothelin was then tested against to the paper biosensor and any change in the electrical potential of the sensor strip (due to the changing conductivity of the nanotubes) was measured, before and after each application. Specifically, what happened was this:

“ The antibodies would bind to the mesothelin and enlarge. These beefed-up molecules would spread the nanotubes farther apart, changing the electrical properties of the network: The more mesothelin present, the more antibodies would bind and grow big, and the weaker the electrical signal would become. ”

A dose-response curve was constructed with an R2 value of 99.92%. Tests on human blood serum obtained from both healthy people and patients with chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (a precursor to pancreatic carcinoma), or pancreatic cancer showed a similar response. The sensor’s limit of detection sensitivity was found to be 0.156 ng/mL; 10 ng/mL is considered the level of overexpression of mesothelin consistent with pancreatic cancer. Andraka's sensor costs $3.00 and 10 tests can be performed per strip, taking 5 minutes each. The method is 168 times faster, 26,667 times less expensive, and 400 times more sensitive than ELISA, and 25% to 50% more accurate than the CA10-9 test.

Officials at Intel have said that Andraka's method is more than 90 percent accurate in detecting the presence of mesothelin.

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Response to Celebration (Reply #79)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 11:53 PM

80. Thanks. That looks a lot more sensible

Seems like extraordinarily shoddy reporting. They should have included at least a summary of those results. It isn't overly complicated.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 05:50 PM

47. remember dr jonas salk

He refused to patent his polio vaccine.

This kid reminds me of him

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 06:08 PM

48. OMG, I really hope Big Money doesn't assign him an "unfortunate accident."

Big Money doesn't like competition.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 07:41 PM

53. Mesothelin is a tumor marker

May be useful, may not be, like other tumor markers like afp, CA-125, PSA, etc. Needs some study... It's not a miracle.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:09 PM

57. I remember when this first became news in late August

I was in the hospital being treated for breast cancer and having a prophylactic salpingo-oopherectomy (to prevent ovarian cancer) as I have the brca2 gene. This gene also makes me 7x more susceptible to pancreatic cancer and melanoma than people not carrying this gene. I thought, ok, almost have 3 of these 4 cancers licked (almost), but there's nothing that can be done to detect pancreatic cancer early. Ruth Bader Ginsberg has survived a few years after her pancreatic cancer was diagnosed with a "routine CT exam." No one gets a routine CT exam, but that's what it would take.

I was grateful to hear of his discovery. I told my surgeon (from my hospital bed) about the discovery. She is a brca researcher. She was pleasantly surprised and after I described to her the story that I heard about the teststrips, she said to me "they've been trying to get a test like this for a long time with no success." She looked amazed and I can still hear say "Really?"

As I recall, this young man won a $50,000 prize from Google and was also a National Junior Kayak champion. Sounds like he will be a success no matter he does.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 10:36 PM

58. I teach High School.

The fact that a 15 year old (figure a sophomore) even knows the word "epiphany" AND used it correctly is amazing in itself. This kid must be awesome. I sure hope he has this thing protected...I can see Big Pharma getting hold of this and jacking up the price to obscene heights.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:40 PM

61. Insurance lobby wll bury this.

Being able to diagnose oneself with an expensive to treat disease without the insurance industry knowing will not sit well with them.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:23 AM

63. K&R

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:50 AM

64. "You'll be the doctor."???

bad idea. surely this may give people a head start on combatting an illness. and surely in the age of the internet people can become very well educated about health/illness. but to think "you're the doctor" is a very dangerous idea for one's own health, and demeaning to highly trained professionals.

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:10 AM

66. Yeah, but how well does he do on standardized tests?

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 08:58 AM

67. I hate stories like this

Hell, when I was 15, the best I could manage was a handful of tortured and half-assed sonnets to a girl who barely knew my name, and then this kid comes along and potentially revolutionizes diagnostic medicine?

Who the hell does he think he is?

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Response to Celebration (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 12:48 PM

81. Yet another example of our youth's brilliance

Innocence can be such a beautiful thing. Jack will go on to make even bigger waves as he grows up. We're sure of it.

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