Another Smart Teen – She Researched And Designed A Nanoparticle To Kill Cancer

(Image via geekosystem.com)

You may remember a previous post about 17 year old Samir Malhotra who is working on finding the cause of Meniere’s Disease.

Now, I’m going to introduce you to Angela Zhang who won first prize in the top individual honors (a $100,000 scholarship) in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology with her project, “Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells”. What that means is Angela created a nanoparticle that kills cancer. She likened the tiny particle, according to this Wall Street Journal article“to a “Swiss army knife of cancer treatments” because of its precision in targeting cancer tumors“.

For those of us who are not scientifically-inclined, what happens is that the particle helps deliver a drug directly to the tumour cells without affecting the surrounding healthy cells. The particle will also release a drug when activated by a laser.

Angela, who is 17, was motivated to start working on her project in 2009 because of the deaths of her grandfather and great-grandfather from cancer. She asked “Why does this happen. Why does cancer cause death? What are we doing to fix this and what can I do to help?”.

The WSJ article also talked to the winners of the team category who used video game technology to create software to help people with prosthetic limbs improve their walk.

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