rebelling against low expectations

Jack Andraka: Revolutionizing Cancer Diagnosis


Check out this incredible story about 15-year-old Jack Andraka—a passionate teen who has single-handedly revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of one of the most deadly forms of cancer after it claimed the life of his uncle.

Wait, Did This 15-Year-Old From Maryland Just Change Cancer Treatment?

By Bruce Upbin,

If you’re feeling anxious about how U.S. kids lag the world in science and math … take in this story of a high school freshman from Crownsville, Md. who came up with a prize-winning breakthrough that could change how cancer and other fatal diseases are diagnosed and treated.

His name is Jack Andraka, and he loves science and engineering with every inch of his 15-year-old soul. Just spend a minute or so watching this video. Seriously, do it now before you read more. Nothing from the Oscars or Grammys comes close to the unabashed excitement and joy of Andraka charging up to the stage to accept his $75,000 grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May. This is the Olympics of youth science, with more than 1,500 entries from 70 countries competing, each of which already won their national competitions.

I first saw Andraka present his discovery at a TED worldwide talent search in New York two weeks ago. In only three minutes he had the audience dumbfounded with the results of his work: a paper test strip that uses minute changes in conductivity to detect targeted viruses or antigens faster, cheaper and more accurately than today’s standard diagnostics. It seems too good to be true, but the panel of judges at the Intel science fair are not rubes. For a teenager he is disarmingly forthright and direct in talking about complex chemistry, but he’s also good at making it understandable to the lay person.

Read the whole article…

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Wow! That is pretty cool! I have a brother who died of cancer (leukemia), so when I here things like this it definitely gets me excited and happy! 😉
    Thanks for sharing!
    God bless!


  • This is pretty cool. I always get excited about teenagers taking action like this! God can use whoever He wants to, no matter who they are or how old they are, to accomplish anything He wants to accomplish and this is a pretty neat example of that.

  • I know this doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, but I was wondering, How many young people are there, who give a gospel tract to every cashier they buy something from? Or leave a gospel tract in every public restroom they enter, or in genral, try to pass out tracts to as many people as possible? I have a real passion for reaching the lost, and I would strongly encourage every christian to always have a gospel tract on hand. My friends and I hold each other accountable, and make sure that if possible at every gas staion we enter, we hand out at least one tract in person, not to mention all the ones we try to leave in restrooms. So is there any one else that does this too?


  • Nossa eu estou muito feliz por ele, Jack é realmente um garoto muito batalhador e que não se deixou abater por qualquer coisa e além de ganhar seu merecido prêmio conseguiu ceifar a vida de seu tio. Parabéns Jack!!

  • WOW! I am in awe of people with such incredible gifts!!!! I thank the Lord for people like Jake! I don’t really know anything about him (other than he is incredibly SMART) but I hope he is serving the Lord with this gift. I was a bit sad that he stated more than once “I came up with this idea completely on my own.” The glory should really go to the Lord. I’m pretty sure the Lord had a hand in him coming up with this, whether he chooses to acknowledge it or not. But nevertheless, many lives are sure to be saved as a result of his tremendous discovery! Way to go Jake!!!! SUPER proud of you!

  • And WHY is this kid’s story not plastered all over the news yet!?! This is incredible! 99% of what he said is all greek to me, but he is so talented! My grandfather died of cancer in multiple parts of his body including his pancreas, early detection is so imprtant in fighting cancer before it spreds to far. I hope he goes far with this!
    God Bless!

  • It’s amazing that this kid is about to leap into a new world of patenting his project and advertising it to high heaven. I think that as he goes about this process he’ll be faced more than once with the reality that God alone gives him strength as well as inspiration. This is bound to change lives. Praise the Lord!

  • This is Amazing! Thank-you Lord for this. It is so true what Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV) says: “For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. [12] Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jake if you are reading this blog this is the verse for you, Keep on doing what’s hard for you and give all the glory for your success to God and he will bless you. Also to anyone else who reads this I defininately recommend that you read the book “Do Hard Things” (if you already haven’t and keep on spuring each other on to DO HARD THINGS.

  • This was the best thing about my day, and just in time. I was wondering if I really could try to ace my AP exams in Chemistry and Biology, and I feel encouraged to go for it. Go Jake!

  • My goodness! God has done amazing things! I am so happy! I know many people who have had that( and died from) sort of cancer and …wow!!!

  • What exactly did Jack do? I’m not degrading his skills, he obviously deserves this credit. But what did he do to win?

    • Well, it’s pretty complicated, but he cultured a common protein from pancreatic cancer-causing cells, developed antibodies to those cells, mixed those antibodies with single walled carbon nanotubes, and then coated strips of paper with them. These strips can be used (I think with saliva) to test for early stage pancreatic cancer. The method is 168 times faster, 26,667 times less expensive, and 400 times more sensitive than existing tests.

      • Wow. I actually understood most of what you said (I love science and anatomy). That sure is a lot cheaper than what their doing now with cancer patients. That really could change the way cancer is treated. Thanks for your time Brett.

  • Another interesting fact: Jack Andraka struggles with homosexuality. But we shouldn’t let that cloud our view of him. We should still praise him for the good that he’s done, but pray for him as well.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →