With all the bravado of youth – and what must be a bit extra in the way of problem-solving – California teen, Angela Zhang, set about answering the question, “Cure cancer…why not?” And, she may have done just that.
This amazingly motivated girl started reading top level papers on bio-engineering when she was just a freshman in high school even though she had no formal training in this very advanced area of medicine. She admits that it was difficult at first, but her plucky perseverance kept her reading, trying to solve the puzzle.
Apparently, through the knowledge she had gathered, and maybe a little bit of charm and chutzpah, she was able to get access to a lab at Stanford University by her sophomore year. By the time she was a junior (in high school, remember), she was conducting her own research.
She has developed an idea that just may, say well-credentialed researchers, lead to a real cure for cancer. It is promising enough that she won the $100,000 individual grand prize at the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. She’s been honored by President Obama and has even had the privilege of ringing the closing bell on the New York Stock Exchange.
To summarize her discovery, she has devised a way to deliver cancer medicine directly to cancer cells using nanoparticles (really, really tiny particles) and polymers (large molecules compounded from smaller molecules) which can kill the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone. In other words, all the cancer-killing power with, hopefully, none of the side effects.
It’s worked great so far in labs studies, but human tests haven’t been done yet. It’ll take years to know for sure if it works in humans. But, the future looks very bright – both for this potential cancer cure and for Angela!
Watch a video and read more about Angela at CBS News.
Posted – February 28, 2012