Teen develops early stage, noninvasive pancreatic cancer detector, wins Intel science fair

Pancreatic cancer has a reputation as the silent killer because it frequently isn’t diagnosed until after it has metastasized, and there is currently no reliable way to detect it. But a 15-year-old entrepreneur in the making has developed an early detection device with 90 percent accuracy, a noninvasive tool that could improve chances of survival or at least increase the life span of people with the disease.

The device created by Jack Andraka, of Crownsville, Maryland, won first place and received the $75,000 Gordon E. Moore prize as part of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, according to a company statement.

To craft the detection device, Andraka created a dip-stick sensor to test blood or urine to find out if the patient has early stage pancreatic cancer. His study showed his sensor to be 28-times faster, less expensive and much more sensitive than current tests.

Some groups working on early detection systems may want to have a word with the junior scientist, like a team from Jefferson University Hospitals developing the first clinically reliable test for ductal adenocarcinoma, the primary form of pancreatic cancer, and a team from the Garden State Cancer Center, which has developed a blood test for early detection.


About 44,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed each year.

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