Originally posted on TED Blog:
Some teenagers spend their free time playing video games. Others dedicate their after-school hours to a job, scooping ice cream or taking movie tickets. Still others play a sport, or are star members of a debate team. And still others spend their free time in a lab, working on ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
In a talk posted on TED.com earlier this week, 16-year-old Jack Andraka shares what got him interested in studying pancreatic cancer — a close family friend succumbing to the disease in just three months time. Pancreatic cancer is brutal, with only 5.5% of those diagnosed surviving past five years — in part because it is usually diagnosed very late. After Googling and finding terrifying statistics on the disease, Andraka had an idea: could there be a noninvasive test for pancreatic cancer to diagnose it early?