Meet the gay teen who invented a test for cancer at age 15

Meet the gay teen who was responsible for a major medical breakthrough before he was even out of braces

Meet the gay teen who invented a test for cancer at age 15
15 June 2013

16 year-old Jack Andraka doesn’t think he’s that smart but last year he invented a nearly 100% accurate test for pancreatic cancer that has the potential to save thousands of lives.

A straight-A student since the age of 11 in a public school where half the kids don’t graduate, Andraka’s discovery won him top prize at the International Science and Engineering Fair and $75,000 towards his college tuition – plus another $100,500 in other prize categories.

Andraka came up with the idea last year after reading an article on carbon nanotubes in a journal and realized that nanotubes could be used to suspend a protein which if coated onto strips of filtered paper would create a cheap and accurate test for pancreatic cancer.

Andraka became interested in pancreatic cancer after a family member and his personal hero, Steve Jobs, both died from it.

In order to develop his idea further Andraka wrote to 200 professors to ask for their help. Only one was willing – Dr Anirban Maitra at the Sol Goldman Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Andraka had to officially be a ‘volunteer’ on the project to avoid the university running foul of child labor laws.

And his discovery may lead to improved testing for a range of other illnesses.

‘You can switch the antibody to detect all kinds of diseases- HIV and AIDS, Alzheimer’s, heart disease,’ Andraka told The Standard newspaper.

Asked by The Standard whether he ever got into trouble or was interested in girls, Andraka replied, ‘I’m gay, so no, and I wouldn’t know where to find alcohol.’

And even before graduating high school Andraka has another big goal ahead for him.

He and a group of other teens have entered the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE competition that will be judged and decided at the end of 2015.

The goal of the Tricorder X PRIZE competition is to create a device the size of a smart phone that can make reliable health diagnoses, which would be available directly to consumers at anytime, anywhere.

These days Andraka is such a sought after speaker he rarely makes it to school more than a couple of days a month and he presented a talk at yesterday’s TEDxHousesofParliament event in London.



No thumbnail available

RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix UK keeps 'You've Got She-Mail'

Unlike in the US on Logo, 'You've Got She-Mail' will be heard on nearly every single episode of the sixth season
No thumbnail available

Archbishop of Canterbury: 'I have a lot of gay friends'

'We shouldn’t demonize and dismiss and hate each other as that is so dangerous'
No thumbnail available

London gay bar is saved

Council refuses redevelopment of iconic Soho gay bar
No thumbnail available

Gunmen attack group of transgender women in Pakistan killing two

Three Pakistani transgender women were attacked by an armed group of men after performing at a wedding but the motive for the crime appears to be sexual rather than religious
No thumbnail available

Editor's Pick: The stories that caught our eye this week

Every Friday we sit down with Gaydio and discuss the stories of the week
No thumbnail available

Chile’s civil union campaign shows benefits for straight and gay couples

Highlighting the health and financial problems gay and straight families encounter, the country’s leading LGBTI rights group Movilh has launched a new YouTube campaign to make civil unions a reality
No thumbnail available

Newly elected Mr Gay Italy talks about being a dad

Mr Gay Italia 2012 is divorced and has a son - Alessio Cuviello comes from Sicily and was forced to leave his home just for being gay
No thumbnail available

Hundreds back civil unions at first public hearing in Bangkok

Thai government seeks public opinion on draft same-sex civil union bill
No thumbnail available

During sentencing hearing, gay US Army soldier Bradley Manning apologizes for his actions

'I'm sorry I hurt people. I'm sorry that I hurt the United States'
No thumbnail available

Hong Kong activists launch group to lobby for same-sex marriage recognition

Two couples in Hong Kong have teamed up to launch a new group to lobby the government to recognize civil partnerships and same-sex marriages performed overseas; and ultimately same-sex marriage