High School Student Creates: Test That is Much More Accurate and 26,000 Times Cheaper Than Existing Pancreatic Cancer Tests
Posted on July 22, 2012 Comments (1)
Seeing what these kids come up with is so refreshing after being so disappointed by the actions fo our leaders (politicians, business leaders, financiers, law enforcement [spying on citizens because they feel electronic privacy is fine to invade, taking away liberty...], health care in the USA [twice as expensive as elsewhere with no better results, 10 of millions without coverage]…). These kids make me feel hopeful, unfortunately the actions of the powerful leave me less hopeful.
Jack Andraka created a new paper based test for diagnosing pancreatic cancer that is 50% more accurate, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than existing methods. His method uses carbon nanotubes and can catch the disease in very early stages which is critical to treatment success. The test also covers other forms of cancer very effectively (he concentrated on the results for pancreatic cancer given the low survival rates for that cancer). Jack Andraka: “I actually love single-walled carbon nanotubes; they’re like the superheroes of material science.”
His results are great. Often initial results can be difficult to actually turn into such positive results in the real world. But this is a great step and it is great to see what young minds can do. The claims for how much better, cheaper etc. are wildly different in various places on the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) site.
Jack Andraka was awarded $75,000 for his development of a new method to detect pancreatic cancer as the winner of the top prize at the Intel ISEF (I believe it is new this year to call the winner the Gordon E. Moore Award).
A Novel Paper Sensor for the Detection of Pancreatic Cancer by Jack Andraka
North County High School, Glen Burnie, MD
Optimal layering was determined using a scanning electron microscope. Cell media spiked with varying amounts of mesothelin was applied to the paper biosensor. Change in electrical potential was measured before and after application and a dose-response curve was constructed with an R2 value of 99.92%. In vivo tests on human blood serum obtained from healthy people and patients with chronic pancreatitis, PanIn, pancreatic cancer revealed the same trends. The sensor’s limit of detection was found to be 0.156 ng/mL, satisfying the limit of 10 ng/mL, the level considered an overexpression of mesothelin consistent with pancreatic cancer.
The sensor costs $3.00; 10 tests can be performed per strip. A test takes 5 minutes and is 168 times faster, 26,667 times less expensive, and 400 times more sensitive than ELISA, 25% to 50% more accurate than the CA10-9 test and is a sensitive, accurate, inexpensive, and rapid screening tool to detect mesothelin, a biomarker for pancreatic cancer.