Meet The 15-Year-Old Who Is Changing How We Test For Cancer

By day, Jack Andraka appears to be a normal high school student. But after school, he goes to the lab at Johns Hopkins, where he’s developing a test for pancreatic cancer that is worlds better than what’s currently available. You may have read about him before, now see him talk about his breakthrough.

No matter how precocious you were as a kid, odds are that you were not spending your spare time developing a revolutionary way to diagnose pancreatic cancer. Thank goodness, then, for 15-year-old Jack Andraka, a high school freshman who won this year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair with his mind-bogglingly simple (and inexpensive) test, which is 90% accurate, 400 times more sensitive, and 26,000 times less expensive than today’s methods. How did he do it? During a boring biology class, Andraka realized that he could use carbon nanotubes that react to a specific protein and … oh, just let him tell it.


To read more on Andraka, check out our piece from when he first won his prize.

This piece is part of Change Generation, our series on young, change-making entrepreneurs. Read the rest here.

About the author

Whitney Pastorek is a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles and/or wherever the bus just dropped her off. She spent six years on staff at Entertainment Weekly, and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, Details, the Village Voice, and Fast Company, among many others.