Jack Andraka

Inspirational stories, good news & a focus on the positive

Jack Andraka

Jack Andraka — 15-Yr-Old Jack Andraka Invents Cancer Test 10X More Sensitive & 26,000X Cheaper than Current Tests

Jack Andraka
Jack Thomas Andraka

Jack Andraka enjoys mountain biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and science. According to his Facebook page, he’s a fan of Beavis and Butthead, Family Guy and The Simpsons. Oh yeah—when Jack was 15-years-old he also created a new diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer. Jack Andraka’s test is 28 times faster, 26,000 times less expensive and over 100 times more sensitive than the current diagnostic tests. And, in case that’s not impressive enough, the test also works for ovarian and lung cancer.

His diagnostic test earned him first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science research competition. (The photo is from the competition.)

I love Jack’s modesty. Interviewed before the fair, he said, “I’m incredibly excited. It’s like the Olympics of science fairs. It’s just amazing to be here—even if I don’t get a prize.” Well, Jack Andraka did win, receiving about $100,000 in prize money ($75,000 from the grand prize and over $25,000 from other smaller prizes).  The high schooler said he will put the money toward college tuition.

It was after a close family friend died of pancreatic cancer that Jack Andraka became interested in finding a better early-detection diagnostic test. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer is usually detected too late to save the patient.

Jack said the solution came to him during his high school biology class. He was secretly reading an article about nanotubes while the teacher was talking about antibodies. Jack said the two ideas came together in his head, and he thought he could combine what the teacher was saying with what he knew about nanotubes to create an early detection test for Pancreatic cancer.

Jack Andraka used what he found through Google searches and free online science journals to develop a plan and a budget. Jack contacted about 200 people including researches at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health with a proposal to work in their labs. He got 199 rejections before he finally got an acceptance from Dr. Anirban Maitra, Professor of Pathology, Oncology and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Jack worked after school every day, on weekends and over holidays at Maitra’s lab until he developed his test.

Why did a 15-year-old beat out billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies with his diagnostic test? Perhaps as a young person with no experience, he hadn’t yet learned what everyone else in the industry “knew couldn’t be done.” Certainly, it was in no small part because Anirban Maitra gave him a chance. Not to mention that Jack had an idea and went out and gave it a try.

Think about Jack Andraka the next time you hear that something can’t be done or someone asks you to help out with his project. Or, if you receive numerous rejections (close to 200 in Jack Andraka’s case) or you’re simply hesitating to give one of your ideas a shot. Also, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need a giant team, billions of dollars in resources or even more than 15 years of life experience to do something amazing.

The results of Jack Andraka’s diagnostic test were published on the Society for Science and the Public web site, and Jack has patented his discovery.

If you’re interested in hearing Jack Andraka talk about his pancreatic cancer diagnostic test breakthrough, below is Jack Andraka’s 2012 TED talk.

You can also read about other failures and famous failures that will inspire you to persevere.

Jack Andraka Ted Talk

This video is from an interview with Jack Andraka at the science fair.

Jack Thomas Andraka

 

If you enjoyed this content, please consider clicking this link and liking my Facebook page. You’ll be helping me get my book published (publishers told me I need more Facebook Fans). Thank you!

If you enjoyed this article about Jack Andraka, you’ll also like: Don’t be Afraid to Fail about how the most successful people fail…a lot. Let this post inspire you to join them.

Also check out these posts:  Be Happy: 46 Proven Techniques to Increase Your Happiness and One Way to Get More Sex, and . . .  

Nicholas Winton An Ordinary Person Doing Extraordinary Things–How a 29-Year-Old Stockbroker Saved 669 Lives on Nights and Weekends.

If you enjoyed this post about Jack Andraka, please share:

21,382 Total Shares
Get my free email newsletter with
Inspirational stories & a focus on the positive.
Enjoy my infrequent newsletter. I won't share your email with anyone.


Join the Discussion

220 Comments

  1. […] Jack Andraka – 15 Year Old invents Groundbreaking Cancer Test. […]

  2. […] This also reminds me of the 15 year old boy who figured during a Biology class and brought to fruition a similar test for pancreatic cancer (I’ve written about this before) Jake Andraka for a World Without Cancer. […]

  3. […] he was 15, Jack Andraka had a crazy idea. He would create a diagnostic test for Pancreatic Cancer that was better than the […]

  4. […] HR teams should never under-estimate the value of creating persistence in employees – as illustrated by Jack Andraka. […]

  5. […] Jack Andraka — 15-Yr-Old Jack Andraka Invents Cancer Test … – Jack Andraka, 15, beat out billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with his diagnostic cancer test. Here’s Jack Thomas Andraka’s story & his invention […]

  6. […] Jack Andraka – 15 Year Old invents Groundbreaking Cancer Test – Jack Andraka, 15, beat out billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with his diagnostic cancer test. Here’s Jack Thomas Andraka’s story & his invention […]

  7. […] Jack Andraka – 15 Year Old invents Groundbreaking Cancer Test – Video embedded  · Jack Andraka, 15, beat out billion dollar pharmaceutical companies with his diagnostic cancer test. Here’s Jack Thomas … […]

  8. […] “Yes” to someone. 15-year-old Jack Thomas Andraka received 199 rejections before a lab finally agreed to allow him to do research there. Jack Andraka […]

  9. Leslie says:

    Clinical trials still? Update?

  10. […] you’ll also like, 11 Important Lessons from Teenage Entrepreneurs as well as the story of Jack Andraka, who as a 15-year-old created a pancreatic cancer test that is 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 […]

  11. […] he was 15, Jack Andraka had a crazy idea. He would create a diagnostic test for Pancreatic Cancer that was better than the […]

  12. […] Andraka, a 15-year-old student prodigy managed to invent a pancreatic cancer test that is 28 times faster than everything in the medical industry right now, it’s 26,000 times less […]

  13. […] you’re interested in learning about other inspirational kids, read about Jack Andraka, who at 15-years-old developed a diagnostic cancer test 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 times […]

  14. […] read about Jack Andraka, another amazing kid — at 15, he developed a Cancer diagnostic test 10X more sensitive and […]

  15. […] Jack invented a little dipstick examine that uses usually a sixth of a dump of blood and senses a protein called mesothelin constructed by a cancer, holding usually 5 mins to finish a test. With over 85% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses done late, Jack Andraka’s competence usually be obliged for saving infinite numbers of lives. As an combined bonus, it even works for ovarian and lung cancer. […]

  16. […] Jack invented a small dipstick probe that uses just a sixth of a drop of blood and senses a protein called mesothelin produced by the cancer, taking just five minutes to complete a test. With over 85% of pancreatic cancer diagnoses made late, Jack Andraka’s might just be responsible for saving untold numbers of lives. As an added bonus, it even works for ovarian and lung cancer. […]

  17. What happened to Jack’s cancer test after it was patented? Did big pharma kill it?

    • Hi Pamela, The test is going through the appropriate clinical trials and FDA approvals. Then it will be available on the market.

      • Andres Castillo says:

        What are “appropriate” clinical trials? The same ones that allow 100% of all FDA recalled drugs/tests to have first been approved by… wait for it… wait… THE FDA? Jack’s test sounds amazing. If sound, unfortunately you can bet it’ll no longer be 3 cents, but sure big pharma will try to k!ll it.

  18. Exactly what has happened to Jack’s “test” since he patented it? Is it in use now? Or has big pharma killed it?

  19. Congratulation “Jack Andraka”…!

    You are truly an inspiration as well as a gifted young man, who should pursue your education in a professional mentoring environment, such as attending the “Davidson Academy” at The University of Nevada, Reno Campus, for extraordinarily gifted students. I am certain that you would qualify for a full ride scholarship. SEE: http://www.davidsonacademy.unr.edu/

    Good Luck to you in pursuing your education and dreams…! EDL.

  20. Felicity Coddington says:

    Wow, Kid! Excellent and compassionate finding. Good for you!

  21. […] cuento brevemente la historia de un chibolo llamado Jack Andraka. Luego de perder un familiar cercano víctima del cáncer de páncreas, decidió investigar la posibilidad de tener un método eficaz para la detección de este […]

  22. maniol says:

    cause a great cancer test wouldn’t generate as much profit…

  23. […] One of Price’s favorite stories is about a 15-year-old kid from Michigan who invented a test for pancreatic cancer that is 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 times cheaper than current tests on the market. Price hopes that Academia.edu’s team will pinpoint and surface these kinds of ideas. […]

  24. […] you enjoyed this article about Nicholas Winton, you should also check out the article about: Jack Andraka a 15-year old who invented a Cancer test 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 times cheaper than […]

  25. jeff says:

    Thats great progress. So it detects pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers. Is it possible for this method to detect Leukemia? Especially in children and teens?
    My son became sick with a mysterious illness and had an entire panel drawn and tested. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, but his blood work didn’t detect anything out of the ordinary.
    Six months later he was diagnosed with B-ALL Leukemia. Two weeks after receiving chemo therapy he was additionally diagnosed with Valley Fever in his lungs. Less than four months later he passed just before his sixteenth birthday. Alexander passed on 8/12/2012 after diagnosed on 4/25/2012.
    His cousin passed with the same type of leukemia 11 before and passed after battling it nearly 6 years. She was diagnosed at 15 and passed at 21.
    Leukemia seems to be the lease talked about of all the cancers, and yet the chances of survival especially in adolescents are less than 40 % compared to young children before age 12 with an 80% survival rate.
    We were told that advances in the treatment for leukemia was so much greater since Alex’s cousin 11 years before, and yet his nearly four months of treatment was so horrendous and painful I still wonder to this day of where was this so called advancement in treating leukemia?
    It is my belief that addressing the cancers of the blood and endocrine systems are the core foundation for winning the war on all cancers. Something must be done to find a cure for Leukemia!

    • Hi Jeff, At this point Jack’s invention doesn’t. But I look forward to more innovations from many inventors based on Jack’s diagnostic test. Perhaps Leukemia will be one of them. Brad

  26. God’ has used you Jack. My husband went to a store for groceries, went over for a sample of pizza, the man said, sir, did you hear about the young man who found help for pancreases cancer? My husband & son took the pizza sample, after buying 2, left came home. Asked me how he knew about this? I said what did you tell him? nothing. & of course I said,.( You can entertain Angles unaware), We looked up a young man, & Bless him, here he is. “GOD’, Bless all Cancer patients & All illnesses. In Jesus’ Name, Amen: xxxxo Barb

  27. […] better sand bag. If you discover a reef safe cure for ich, it would definitely be worth millions. http://www.bradaronson.com/jack-andraka/ I just the read the article. very good motivation! 29 gallon Biocube with custom overflow […]

  28. […] Jack Andraka was rejected by 199 research institutions before he found a home for his research and developed a breakthrough diagnostic cancer test (at age 15). Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school. It’s ok to fail and have challenges. Your failures are your best opportunities to learn. Hopefully, you can see them that way. […]

  29. […] One of Price’s favorite stories is about a 15-year-old kid from Michigan who invented a test for pancreatic cancer that is 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 times cheaper than current tests on the market. Price hopes that Academia.edu’s team will pinpoint and surface these kinds of ideas. […]

  30. […] One of Price’s favorite stories is about a 15-year-old kid from Michigan who invented a test for pancreatic cancer that is 100 times more sensitive and 26,000 times cheaper than current tests on the market. Price hopes that Academia.edu’s team will pinpoint and surface these kinds of ideas. […]

  31. […] a 15 year-old who with no formal training in medicine created a test for pancreatic cancer that is 100 Times More Sensitive & 26,000 Times Cheaper than Current Tests.  In fact, if you listen to his TED talk, Jack implicitly tells the story of how only one of the […]

  32. […] “Yes” to someone. 15-year-old Jack Andraka received 199 rejections before a lab finally agreed to allow him to do research there. […]

  33. […] can read more about his story here. It’s a beautiful lesson on how hard work and dedication is all it takes to accomplish […]

  34. Donald E. Brady says:

    There must be something wrong with the fable of a million monkeys with a million typewriters coming up with the Hamlet play This is awe inspiring. Not proof of a God perhaps but proof of the wonder of it all.

  35. Congratulations Jack!

  36. Otto Ebert says:

    Frusterating to see another break through trumped by profit. effectiveness is on the bottom of the algorithm.

  37. this kid is amazing, this needs to go viral so everyone knows what he did, not that im suggesting that they will try to shut him down, but if people know the truth about what things cost and what things should cost
    share this! share this now

  38. Nathan says:

    this is just another example of drug companies and researchers doing things just for the money. This young man did this because it meant something to him not for money and not for the prestige of it. Congrats to him.

    • Kevin Kent says:

      And yet the invention was patented by Jack, which means he stands to profit handsomely. And why not?

  39. Truong Son Trong Nguyen says:

    Jack, you are a prodigy in what you are doing!. You have also set a tremendously effective and greatly important example for young people, especially for those who are interested in science. I can feel and see the enthusiasm and confidence in what you are working on. With continued efforts, I have no doubt that you will be an immense contributor to our society,
    Congratulations & best wishes!

  40. Bryan Elliott says:

    “Not to mention that Jack had an idea and went out and gave it a try.”

    Way to bury the lead: this is the most important part of why he was able to beat out big companies. Big companies are risk averse, preferring low-risk incremental innovation to high-risk revolutionary innovation.

  41. SY says:

    He needs to write this up with his mentor and submit it to a peer-reviewed biomedical journal.

  42. Luzmila Cotrado Velarde says:

    Congratulation Jack, I read one article about you in Smithsonian magazine, three months ago, it’s interesting. And allowme to say I am learning English, and I am peruvian and I am 59.
    I woul like to read about your more research.

  43. […] trying to tease out mechanisms of progression in pancreatic cancer (yes, I have heard about the new diagnostic test developed by a 15 year old…and it’s pretty rad). I feel pretty fortunate, really, to actually be a scientist. Not […]

  44. […] you rather see American children follow through on curiosities and interests, like Jack Andraka, who recently self-invented a diagnostic procedure for […]

  45. Christina says:

    My husband was in line at Taco Bell, a man in the drive thru was QUITE rude, cussing, and so my husband went outside and told him he would pull him out of that car and pound him into the dirt, and the young man apologized to the employees, and other customers thanked him,…does that help?

  46. Flavio says:

    Come to Australia.

  47. […] Jack Andraka – 15 Year Old invents Groundbreaking Cancer Test. […]

  48. Awesome!!! Can’t wait to see what he does next. Sets the bar high. Focus and dedication and it doesnt matter what your age you can accomplish anything

  49. […] Adolescente inventa un test diagnóstico para el cáncer más rápido, barato y sensible que las pru… […]

  50. idic5 says:

    when was this blog post done ? please point me to the date. who what where when and why are all important.

  51. selecting says:

    Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kind of
    information on your blog. Im really impressed by your site.

  52. ApRol says:

    Gotta love those “Aha!” moments in Bio class. Very, very inspiring. Jacks are turning out to be great kids so far…

  53. […] Jack Andraka invented a test for pancreatic cancer that is 100 times more sensitive and 28 times cheaper than […]

  54. Ignatz says:

    The pharmaceutical companies would have done it if they just got a bigger tax cut.

    This kid did and they didn’t because the profit motive KILLS innovation.

    Big Pharma cares about money, not medicine. This kid was focused on medicine.

  55. Raj says:

    This test could have saved Steve Jobs if available 10 years ago! Great Job! You inspire others to follow you into science Jack.

  56. Paula says:

    Thank you Jack…. Thank you…..

  57. Renée de Cauvi says:

    God bless you, Jack Andraka , también al Dr. Anirban Maitra, por creer en tí y darte la oportunidad. Viva la juventud, sin ataduras. Mil gracias por tu trabajo.
    Que Dios, esté siempre contigo.

  58. This is so crucial… he hadn’t yet learned what everyone else in the industry “knew couldn’t be done”… After 9 years in the same business i find myself “stuck” in that “we’ve tried it all… there’s no silver bullet… it won’t work” yada yada. It’s great to read things like this to remind myself to keep a fresh perspective and also allow new folks to have their ideas and opinions and test them out without my “9 years experience in what can’t be done”!

    • Excellent comment. Thank you.

    • Andrew G. says:

      That’s a great point, Farrah. If we always got caught up in that, imagine the things we wouldn’t have. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “expertise” of others and miss out on huge opportunities. Rongxiang Xu, the Chinese doctor who discovered the differentiation pathways for stem cells, was forced to resign because he defied that expertise. It can happen anywhere…

  59. Talking about “Redefining Relevance” ! Jack is right on and BTW this is the theme of our upcoming TEDxOrangeCoast Conference

  60. […] you liked this post, you’ll also enjoy the post about Jack Anraka, an inspirational 15-year-old who invented a cancer diagnostic test 100 times more sensitive and 28 […]

  61. […] think you’ll probably also like these blog posts: Jack Andraka about an amazing 15 year old who has invented a game changing cancer diagnostic test,  7 Easy Ways […]


Please leave a comment

  
  
  

Get more good news in your
Facebook feed.

Get more good news in your Facebook feed.

Search:
Get my free email newsletter with inspirational stories & a focus on the positive.
Enjoy my infrequent newsletter. I won't share your email with anyone.