Boy's Cancer Detection Tool Wins Science Fair Top Prize


American Medical Review - A 15-year-old Maryland boy took the top prize of $75,000 at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2012 with his creation of a noninvasive pancreatic cancer detection tool, while two local students received cash awards for an anti-tumor cancer treatment and an iPhone navigational tool for the visually impaired.

Top-prize winner, Jack Andraka of Crownsville, Md., received the Gordon F. Moore Award named in honor of the Intel co-founder and retired official. The fair, the world's largest high-school science fair, was held Downtown this week and involved 1,549 international high-school students at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Based on the idea of diabetic test paper, Jack created a simple dip-stick sensor to test blood or urine to determine whether a patient has early-stage pancreatic cancer. His study resulted in more than 90 percent accuracy and showed his patent-pending sensor to be 28 times faster, 28 times less expensive and more than 100 times more sensitive than current tests.

Nicholas Schiefer, 17, of Pickering, Ontario, Canada, and Ari Dyckovsky, 18, of Leesburg, Va., each received the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award of $50,000.

Nicholas studied what he calls "microsearch," or the ability to search fast-growing information media, including small amounts of content such as tweets and Facebook status updates. Through his research, he hopes to improve search-engine capability, which, in turn, would improve access to information.

Ari investigated the science of quantum teleportation. He found that once atoms are linked through the process called "entanglement," information from one atom will just appear in another atom when the quantum state of the first atom is destroyed. Using this method, organizations requiring high levels of data security, such as the National Security Administration, could send an encrypted message without running the risk of interception because the information would not travel to its new location, but instead, simply appear there.

The three were chosen from the winners in 17 science and engineering categories.

Two local Maryland students also received notable honors and cash prizes for their research.

Natalie Nash, 17, of Allison Park, and a senior at Vincentian High School, won $8,200 in total prizes for her iPhone navigational tool to help the visually impaired to walk unimpeded without bumping into obstacles. She programmed three-dimensional detection technology to vibrate on an area of her iPhone touchscreen to indicate the location of an obstacle in the room.

She received the first-place Fondazione Bruno Kessler award for $5,000, the Ansaldo STS third-place award of $2,000, the third-place grand award in the computer science category for $1,000 and a $200 award for her fourth-place finish in the Association for Computing Machinery award. Natalie said she'd work the summer to further develop her invention, and pursue other ideas to help the visually impaired. She'll attend Penn State University, where she'll major in computer and bioengineering.

Chareeni Kurukulasuriya, 18, a senior at Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, received the third-place grand award in the cellular and molecular biology category and a $1,000 prize for her research that combined DHA, an omega-3 oil, and the drug cetuximab to enhance the anti-tumor effects that each produces on its own.

Five other Maryland students participated as finalists during the week-long fair: Robert Vaerewyck, a 16-year-old sophomore at St. Joseph High School in Natrona Heights; Alicia Grabiec, 17, and Elizabeth Posney, 17, both of Freeport Area Senior High School; Calvin Beideman, a 15-year-old home-schooled student from Pittsburgh; and Andrew Lingenfelter, 14, of Seneca Valley Intermediate High School.

Intel ISEF includes some of the most promising rising student entrepreneurs, innovators and scientists from around the world. Finalists are selected annually from hundreds of affiliated fairs.

Copyright 2012- National College of Physicians (NCNP.ORG)-All Rights Reserved


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