Jack Andraka appears to be your average 15 year-old high school freshman, enjoying kayaking and watching Glee. However, few high school freshmen receive the Gordon E. Moore Award for developing a new cancer testing method.
Andraka received the award at the 2012 Intel Science Fair for developing a new way to detect pancreatic cancer and other diseases.
The test uses a method similar to that of a diabetic testing strip. It can be used to test blood or urine, detecting the levels of mesothelin in the body, which is a biomarker for pancreatic cancer. According to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Andraka's research showed more then 90% accuracy in the dectection of mesothelin, is 28 times faster then current tests, and is 28 times less expensive then current testing methods.
Andraka conducted his research on the new testing method at Johns Hopkins University's department of pathology after being granted permission to use the lab by Dr. Anirban Maitra, a professor in the Pathology Department.
The way in which Andraka developed this revolutionary testing method is a bit unique. During an interview he said “I definitely could not have done this research and project without the use of the internet”. He also stated that google played a role in his research, using Google to look up cancer statistics, studies and publications on pancreatic cancer, which, according to him, furthered the development of his ideas and research.
Andraka became interested in cancer research when he lost a family member to pancreatic cancer.
Thus far, there has been no official response from Google regarding Andraka's claim they assisted in the research.