Thursday, December 8, 2011

[Repost] Teen wins award for new targeted cancer treatment

This is just too cool not to share! For her design of a cancer-fighting technique that targets tumors and leaves healthy tissue intact, Angela Zhang, of Cupertino, has won a best-of-the-best national science competition and a $100,000 scholarship. She is all of 17 years old.

Zhang, a senior at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, won the grand prize in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, which funds and recognizes outstanding achievement. She designed a gold-iron oxide nanoparticle to deliver chemotherapy. It's like sending in a cellphone-carrying ninja to assassinate cancer stem cells and report back while in action.

"She showed great creativity and initiative in designing a nanoparticle system that can be triggered to release drugs at the site of the tumor while also allowing for non-invasive imaging. Her work is an important step in developing new approaches to the therapeutic targeting of tumors via nanotechnology," competition judge Tejal Desai, a professor at UC San Francisco, said in a statement.

...Zhang devised her experiment to target tumors, instead of blasting the body with chemicals, which also destroy healthy cells and cause side effects. Harnessing cutting-edge research into nanotechnology, she injected tumor cells into mice -- "I'm sorry, that must sound horrible" -- let them grow and then injected a nanoparticle carrying the cancer-fighting drug salinomycin.
Tracking the particle with an infrared laser, she found that the tumors diminished.

Complete story at 17-year-old Cupertino student wins Siemens Competition and $100,000

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