Saturday, December 10, 2011

17-year old creates cancer-destroying nanoparticle (and wins lots of $$$ to boot!)

Angela Zhang (left) is probably like the vast majority of other teenagers in most respects. But how many other teens out there are also developing radical new therapies for cancer that might very well lead to a veritable cure?

That's what Zhang has been doing for the past two years, spending over a thousand hours researching and creating a microscopic means of destroying tumors. And for her efforts she has just been awarded the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology!

The title of Zhang's project is "Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells". In layman's terms, it means that she developed a nanoparticle that, when delivered to the tumor site via the drug salinomycin, destroys the cancerous stem cells. Not only that but she smartly utilized gold and iron-oxide so that the particles could also be picked up on MRI and photoacoustics. Meaning that Zhang's method can overcome cancer resistance and be monitored in real time without any extra special equipment.

Clever lass, this one is! has more about Angela Zhang and her very cool work. Wouldn't surprise me if this product of her ingenuity sees routine use within the next ten years (if not sooner).