Wednesday, February 20, 2013


My post on May 31, 2012 was titled: "Who Is Jack Andraka?"  I am positively THRILLED to say that Jack is now getting well-deserved and even more well-earned attention from the masses.  I was a fan of this young man over eight months ago. Y'all may want to pay a bit more attention to my blogposts.  I'm  delighted I wrote this in May and I'm even happier to reprint it here today.

Last night, Jack was the invited guest in a tweet chat of Health Care LEADERS.  He was 15 years old when I wrote this piece.  At 16, we were all hanging on to his every tweet.  He talked about open access to research publications.  First, a few of my favorite tweets from last night and then, my original blog post.

Jack is going viral. He is going to appear on The Doctors. Tomorrow. He tweeted this last night.

And this afternoon.... Blog Radio...
And then, some of the best of what Jack had to say as I watched the screen scroll at warp speed....

A few things come to mind.  Someone PATTED him on the head and told him he didn't KNOW enough.  I double dare you to listen to the video embedded in the original blog post.  And I'll bet 98% of us can barely understand ANY of what he is saying.  He's resilient and persistent.  Yep.  Again, below.  Pay attention to how many researchers he sent his idea to before someone gave him a shot.

And best of all.... if he could use google to create a cancer sensor, imagine what other kids can do....  The biggest part of why this young man is so endearing.  Those words are sincere.  He's busy looking outward while the rest of us are spellbound.

Without any further commentary about what is happening now, in May I asked,

Who is Jack Andraka?

Do you know the answer?

I stumbled upon something from a news feed.  That's why I know his name.  Mostly, I saw a video.  Not THIS video, but another video.

This is Jack Andraka.  He is discussing his entry in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.  He's 15 years old. He's a high school freshman.  He's a genius.  In this video, he explains his entry in far greater detail than I can comprehend.  It's a test to detect pancreatic cancer.  He targeted pancreatic cancer for personal reasons.  With some modifications, and IF IF IF I am understanding this, there may be a version of this test for both ovarian and lung cancer. Those are three major players in the "We Suck at Treating These Cancers Because We Generally Find Them At Very Late Stages" ......

Jack sent his proposed research plan to roughly 200 different people.  These young people do their work in REAL labs in collaboration with experienced researchers.  In Jack's case, that would be Dr. Anirban Maitra, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  He was the only one who was willing to give Jack an opportunity to explore his ideas and it was in the lab of Dr. Maitra that this groundbreaking test to detect pancreatic cancer was developed.

I have these strips that I use to test the water in my swimming pool.  I dip the strip into the water and compare the colors against those on the container.  I can determine, among other things, if the water is properly chlorinated and if the pH level is within an acceptable range.  All based upon the colors on the test strip.

Jack's test is similar.  It's NON invasive.  It's a dip-stick sensor to test either blood or urine for early stage pancreatic cancer.  When it's treatable.  The test held up in a study and it was found to be 28 times faster, 28 times LESS expensive and over 100 times more sensitive than current tests.  Accuracy?  Over 90% of the time, the test was accurate.

Jack is a young man who had an idea.  What sparked that idea to move him to these levels?  He says he had an idea when sitting in a biology class.  I say it was far more than "an idea" and kudos to Dr. Maitra for taking a chance.... for giving Jack a platform and the support to see where his idea would take him.

His idea will soon be taking him to The US Patent and Trademark Office.  The patent is pending.  The $75,000 prize that Jack says he will be saving for his college education?  Ah, the innocence of the young.  Does this exceptionally brilliant young man think he is actually going to PAY for his education?  The colleges have already lined up around the block with their offers of "a full ride."  He hasn't even taken his SAT's if he's following normal academic high school routine.  He's a FRESHMAN.  With FRESH ideas.

He can take the $75K and do what most other young men his age would do.  First, get mom some flowers for providing the transportation from school to the lab.  Not that mom wants them.  Mom's gift was just knowing Jack was working in a world class lab.  Making it to the finals?  The icing.  Winning?  There's really nothing on the mom-o-meter to properly capture the emotions she had to feel when she heard his name announced.  NONE.

So, Jack...... Rest assured.  College?  From undergrad through post doctoral..... all covered.

My suggestion, if I may?  Go buy a smokin' hot car.  That's what all guys in high school strive to achieve.  The First Car.  

Actually, there is a minor issue.  Jack is too young to drive.


  1. Nearly everyone I follow on Twitter (except for the budding authors trying to build a following) comes by way of your posts. :)

  2. Wow. Just wow. What an incredible kid, and how hopeful for all of us -- cancer patients or not. Can't wait to see what Jack accomplishes next.

  3. You guys...

    I'm feeling quite the "mother hen"....! The video of his excitement at winning the award is what got me most. The Intel awards are very heavily followed on Long Island which is likely why I "discovered" him back in May!

    Rhonda... you crack me up.... your twitter gang.... and NANCY..... your trip to NYC was fabulous (except for the bitterly cold weather) .... Next time, let me barge in on one of your dining extravaganzas!!

    Hugs to both of you

  4. Thank you for sharing this!


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