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17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the does-this-count-as-extra-credit? dept.

Medicine 255

An anonymous reader writes "17-year-old Angeloa Zhang was recently awarded the $100,000 Grand Prize in the Individual category of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Her project was entitled 'Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells.' The creation is the so-called 'Swiss army knife of cancer treatment,' which allows a nanoparticle to be delivered to a tumor where it proceeds to kills cancer stem cells."

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Grrr! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312062)

Don't read this... it is a curse...

  In 2003, a little boy named Cody was walking down the sidewalk and going to the store. Suddenly, he was transported to a large dark alley. His clothes weren't transported with him! He heard evil laughter and whispers from all around him. He began running to look for an exit whilst thinking about the two entities that were chasing him. Then, to his horror, he tripped and fell face-first on the ground and could no longer move a single cheek!

  He then felt two entities jump on both of his bootyasscheeks. Then, his vision was transported elsewhere and he found himself staring at his own body as if he was looking at himself through a security camera. The two entities were toys! He saw the toys get ready to jump up his butt after saying, "Reaaaaady?" However, just before they could jump into his bootyass, a strange figure appeared in the darkness and said, "Wait! Use this!"

  The toys replied, "Whaaaaaat dooooooes iiiiiiit dooooooo?" The strange man said, "Iiiiiiiiiit puuuuuuuts iiiiiit uuuuuup hiiiiiis buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutt!" Then, a strange machine appeared out of nowhere, moved its arm, and dropped a counterfeit US quarter into Cody's bootyass! It inflicted tremendous amounts of tickle upon his bootyass, and it sounded like a quarter going down a slot machine!

  Now that you have read this (even a single word of it), the strange man will use his machine to insert counterfeit US quarters into your bootyass (thereby inflicting ridiculous amounts of tickle upon it)! To prevent this from happening, post this curse as a comment three times.

Re:Grrr! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312096)

Why must you spam these stupid stories? You can't get any catharsis from them, nobody bothers reading them, we all just skip over them, and they're such a load of crap that they're worthless anyway.

i reads em..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312112)

I READS EM!!!! I do I do! I reeeds em like a toothy mackerel....Gawd I luvs em mackerels.

Re:i reads em..... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312358)

That story was like Goosebumps all over 'gain dag nabit!

Re:Grrr! (-1, Troll)

shentino (1139071) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312996)

Your story is so lame I would rather face the strange man than allow myself to be used to propagate this evil curse.

Re:Grrr! (-1, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313074)

I didn't read it because I knew it was crap.

Typo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312064)

s/is/it/

Golly! (-1, Troll)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312072)

How did I know an article with this title would have a Chinese name in it? I must be psychic!

Re:Golly! (0, Flamebait)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313084)

In the USA she would have been sent outside to play sports. All that sitting indoors and reading isn't good for people and they need to develop socially instead of doing nerdy stuff like curing cancer.

Re:Golly! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313296)

She's from Cupertino, California, USA..

Re:Golly! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313588)

Doesn't matter. She's probably got one of those tiger moms, meaning she's not allowed to play, have friend, or do any of the things most Americans think a childhood should consist of.

Lousy t-shirt (5, Funny)

Artea (2527062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312090)

Cure cancer, only make 100k

Re:Lousy t-shirt (-1, Redundant)

thebigbadme (194140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312108)

bump - funny

Re:Lousy t-shirt (5, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312128)

Cure cancer, only make 100k

Well, it's not like she's invented a flying car, is it?

Re:Lousy t-shirt (5, Insightful)

pntkl (2187764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312264)

No, it sure isn't. Maybe she just saved that hypothetical inventor's life, on the other hand. I feel those erudite, yet lacking innovation, they deserve to be leveraged against. That is, considering how often true innovators are stifled and devalued. Stuff like this, if a successful innovation can solve a trillion dollar problem with a few dollars--said innovator should feel free to offer it to all sides. Maybe you don't ask for a trillion dollars, although, you could ask for a lot more than $100K.

Re:Lousy t-shirt (5, Insightful)

dadioflex (854298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312436)

No, it sure isn't. Maybe she just saved that hypothetical inventor's life, on the other hand. I feel those erudite, yet lacking innovation, they deserve to be leveraged against. That is, considering how often true innovators are stifled and devalued. Stuff like this, if a successful innovation can solve a trillion dollar problem with a few dollars--said innovator should feel free to offer it to all sides. Maybe you don't ask for a trillion dollars, although, you could ask for a lot more than $100K.

Your comment feels like a puzzle I must unravel.

The 100k is a prize. There is probably an awful lot more development to do before this becomes an actual treatment, and there is nothing to say the talented winner won't earn ten times, or a hundred times the prize money by the time that treatment is fully developed. I'd say her career is almost assured at this stage, and that alone is probably worth millions.

Re:Lousy t-shirt (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312288)

And football coaches get a million plus a year.

Re:Lousy t-shirt (5, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312312)

Cure cancer, only make 100k

... and who owning the patent?

Re:Lousy t-shirt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312628)

Yeah well she only improved humanity's lot and made a massive contribution to the world of science and technology, what does she expect? All that boring science crap is like, so dull! Now if she'd been on X-Factor or Big Brother, done a spot of "peeling" on live TV maybe, she'd be rolling in it!

( I am being sarcastic for those too dumb to spot it! )

Re:Lousy t-shirt (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312756)

Cure cancer, only make 100k

She didn't "win" the money for curing cancer. It was the prize money for the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology. Could have been 100 for any field

Re:Lousy t-shirt (-1, Offtopic)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313000)

They don't give you money if they don't know what you'll do with it.

She needs a hobby: Burying diamonds.

Oh... she could make fake dinosaurs and put them places! The Christians would LOVE IT!

Re:Lousy t-shirt (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313132)

Are you saying that she could have made more by inventing a cancer-*giving* nano-particle?.

Re:Lousy t-shirt (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313252)

The question I've been asking and can't seem to find an answer for is:

By entering her particle as a project in this competition and accepting the 100k... Did she transfer any/all ownership of the IP to a drug company?

Re:Lousy t-shirt (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313270)

The Nobel Peace Prize pays out pretty well; generally $1-3 million USD depending on market variations.

Re:Lousy t-shirt (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313334)

The Nobel Peace Prize pays out pretty well; generally $1-3 million USD depending on market variations.

So, somewhere between 5 and 15% of the golden parachute that Carly Fiorina got for running HP into the ground (on top of her salary)?

Will we see this in mainstream medicine? (-1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312092)

I don't think so. Not while Monsanto, Pfizer, Glaxo~ et al still exist to foist placebo.

Re:Will we see this in mainstream medicine? (1, Troll)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312164)

Sure when they can patent your "cure" and turn you into a monopoly while undergoing lots of life long treatments.
Few $100K to get a basic work up, then their factory in China produces your nanomeds.
If they find you went shopping in Asia first and still have traces of infringing medical treatments, its lawyer time.

Biology Question (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312094)

It seems all prizes and research goes to Cancer and AIDS since they get the most newstime and general attention? But these two diseases seem to be extremely difficult to cure fully all the same when you consider the billions of dollars invested the last few decades.

Would it be that hard to cure ulcerative colitis or crohns with serious money invested like what we see with cancer/aids? Or it's equally difficult? Just asking from a purely scientific standpoint to discover a new drug that works, not about the process of bringing a "cure" to market with trials and approvals.

Having said that this girl sounds rather brilliant, so congrats to her!

Re:Biology Question (5, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312154)

Colitis and Crohn's disease are autoimmune, so yes, they're going to be very difficult to cure. Cancer and AIDS at least have well identified targets. Wipe out all the cancerous cells or virus particles and you're done. Most autoimmune diseases have the complication that you're still not sure exactly what's wrong, and even if you did know, the cells that are causing the problems are usually also necessary for staying alive.

Re:Biology Question (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312216)

Thanks for the explanation. One interesting thing though, smoking apparently can give complete remission for colitis even if you were a non-smoker/non-drinker (but makes chrones worse). Obviously though smoking 2 packs a day isn't the greatest cure. And e-cigs + patches don't bring the same levels of nicotine and don't seem to work. Makes me wonder if they could isolate the specific particles of nicotine that are helping and put it in some pill with a high dose so you can have the benefits to colitis without the lung cancer?

Re:Biology Question (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312386)

Crohn is not an autoimmine disease, it's a bacterial infection, if you wish to call it anything you can say it's an autoinflammatory disease.

The fact that there is still this level of confusion means there needs to be more research.

Re:Biology Question (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312448)

The fact that there is still this level of confusion means there needs to be more research.

They identified the MAP bacteria a few years back, but are still discovering SNP's that contribute to the inability to fight it off.

Killing MAP takes a cocktail of antibiotic drugs still. Nasty buggers.

Re:Biology Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313128)

Wow, thank you! I was not aware of this bit of information about Crohn's! It seems that my physician is not very well informed...

I would very much appreciate if you (or someone else) could post more information and links about current research regarding this nasty disease.

Re:Biology Question (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313510)

pubmed.org is your friend : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21254832 [nih.gov]

Re:Biology Question (5, Informative)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313258)

Crohn is not an autoimmine disease, it's a bacterial infection

While this is technically not a lie, it's at least a very misleading statement that obfuscates the underlying problem. Crohn is a disease of the immune system. Newer research indicates that it might be a deficiency in some immune cells' ability to produce immuno-modulating agents that are needed for a coordinated response to bacteria occuring inside the colon. This allows those bacteria to stage an attack on the colon's tissue. The bacterial infection itself is, however, just a symptom of the immune defect.

Re:Biology Question (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312432)

As far as difficult to cure, it depends on what you mean.

At this point in time it's very likely that Crohn is either E. Coli or MAP. While they are harder to eradicate than tuberculosis or leprosy, since the MAP bug lives deep within intercellular walls, it should be possible with the right antibiotics. There are already tests with TB cocktails that target MAP.

However, there is little interest from the medical industry because these antibiotics are actually not expensive, and giving people infliximab ( makes them a whole lot more.

Many people who have crohn are boosting their immune system (which like I said contradcits the autoimmune theory which is bullocks at this point), Naltrexone has been shown to work for crohn and increase levels of Vitamin D seems to also have a beneficial effect.

Then there are complications, like fibrosis, which need to be looked at also, because it's a very common side-effect when the intestinal walls contract due to scar tissue and increased collagen.

ALL OF THESE THINGS are within reach of being cured, if only there was some money put into them.

Re:Biology Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312452)

The worst thing about what you say is mesalazine. It's very expensive, never cures you and provides a *very* slight benefit. Every specialist in the world says you should take it because it doesn't have many side effects. Many peoples lives are in total hell and they're still taking this expensive stuff every day. It's any companies dream cashcow... just keep churning out the tablets from your factory, never cure everyone and roll in the dollars for evermore.

Which is one problem regarding research... why would companies producing pentasa / salofalk / etc tablets try to find a way to bankrupt themselves? Same deal with inflix$mab, except that actually works great if it doesn't stop working or give you a brain tumor.

Re:Biology Question (4, Informative)

zill (1690130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312208)

Because cancer actually refers to a huge group of different diseases. They share the common characteristic of unregulated cell growth but they are distinct diseases nevertheless. Each specific type of cancer don't actually receive disproportionate "newstime and general attention".

Re:Biology Question (5, Insightful)

damonlab (931917) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312290)

I would argue that breast cancer receives disproportionate "newstime and general attention" compared to other types of cancer such as prostate cancer or skin cancer.

Re:Biology Question (5, Funny)

mlow82 (889294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312604)

To be completely fair, breast cancer is in the breasts whereas prostate cancer is in the anus.

Re:Biology Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312850)

To be completely fair, breast cancer is in the breasts whereas prostate cancer is in the anus.

You're thinking about (rectal and) anal cancer. Prostate cancer is not in the anus, it's in the prostate. Easiest way to examine prostate cancer is through the anus, but that is totally unrelated.

With your kind of thinking, you could as well call prostate cancer for penis cancer, or stomach cancer.

Re:Biology Question (1)

jimmetry (1801872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313010)

s/in/within close proximity to/ Everyone loves boobies, and to find out that frequent examination by a certified member of your peers could be good for one's health? Praise the Lawd! We must spread the good word of the Medical Bible.

Re:Biology Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313424)

True dat. Although this is down to the collective action of women bringing breast cancer to the worlds attention and campaining for somethng to get done. Not scientists, researchers nor polititions but woman. If you'd like similar "newstime and general attention" to the cancer of your choice, now would be a good time to start acting.

Re:Biology Question (4, Interesting)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312314)

Similarly, a lot of effort that goes into "AIDS research" is really more widely applicable virus research. Finding something practical that cured a major class of virus would be world changing on the level of antibiotics.

Re:Biology Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312384)

Such as this [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Biology Question (1, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313108)

Antibiotics and viruses don't belong in the same sentence.

Re:Biology Question (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313160)

I don't think he wasn't referring to "curing" viruses with antibiotics. If you reread his post, I'm sure you'll see what he's saying is that curing a major class of virus (such as the HIV retrovirus) would be as world changing as the discovery of penicillin.

Re:Biology Question (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313534)

Yes they do, and in exactly the way that the grandparent said. Antibiotics (and antiseptics before them) made a massive change to medicine. The discovery of penicillin turned a large number diseases from always-fatal to mildly irritating. A broad-spectrum antiviral would have a similarly huge impact.

Re:Biology Question (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312944)

That's true, but it's also true of a lot of other drugs, eg anti-venom and anti-flu. In each case you're developing tools for examining how a particular "species" works and some of those tools will work on a wide variety species (such as immediately pouring vinegar on insect, spider, and jelly fish stings), over time this tends to flatten the learning curve for the next species you examine.

Re:Biology Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312412)

Biological drugs like Humira and Remicade work fairly well for many people with Crohn's. I heard that Humira is coming out of patent protection next year or so and there will be much cheaper generics available.

They are all pretty difficult these days (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312488)

We've cured/prevented/etc the simple stuff. No surprise as medical science advances, just like any science, the simpler problems are solved first. Things like sterilization before surgery was a major, and fairly simple, advance that prevented a lot of shit.

Well we are now getting to the more tough stuff. Things were the body attacks itself, diseases that use our immune system against us and so on. Much harder to find a way to deal with. That isn't to say we won't, but it shouldn't be surprising that it takes a lot of time and thus costs a lot of money.

The autoimmune stuff, also very hard. Again it is the body causing itself trouble. It isn't a foreign agent messing with the body, the body itself is the problem. Tough problem to deal with.

Re:Biology Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312558)

It's not as if working on excludes working anything else... There are a lot of people working on every problem you've ever heard of and a lot more that you never have.

Re:Biology Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312592)

Considering cancer kills 1 out of every 3 people (in the Western World), yes it is going to continue to get the big bucks. As for AIDS, well, I think it was because of those overpaid actors that gave it a high profile.

Re:Biology Question (3, Interesting)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313048)

Because if you cure cancer (Somehow...... cancer really refers to a vast number of genetic defects each with its own kink), or AIDS (perhaps more likely) you'll save billions of lives over the course of history.

Malaria however is another one desparately in need of research. Kills more than aids and yet gets a fraction of the research dollars.

Designed or Created? (5, Funny)

edibobb (113989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312098)

I believe she only designed the nanoparticle. Actually creating it comes next semester.

How does it recognize cancel stemcell? (1)

shas3n (1121469) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312114)

TFA is sparse on tech details. So how exactly nano-particles know if a cell is cancerous or not?

Re:How does it recognize cancel stemcell? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312354)

TFA is sparse on tech details. So how exactly nano-particles know if a cell is cancerous or not?

Some (very sparse) details on the GWU site [gwu.edu]

In her project, Angela aimed to design a targeted gold and iron oxide-based nanoparticle with the potential to eradicate cancer stem cells through a controlled delivery of the drug salinomycin to the site of the tumor.

Re:How does it recognize cancel stemcell? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312390)

Maybe this [mdanderson.org] would help? (article as old as 2007).

Targeting the nanotubes solely to cancer cells is the major challenge in advancing the therapy, Curley says. Research is under way to bind the nanotubes to antibodies, peptides or other agents that in turn target molecules expressed on cancer cells. To complicate matters, most such molecules also are expressed in normal tissue.

Re:How does it recognize cancel stemcell? (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312404)

And this [mdanderson.org]

Nanoparticles are so small they are measured in nanometers (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter); many have diameters in the range of 5–200 nm. At that size, the particles are small enough to evade uptake by the liver and spleen, enabling them to stay in the bloodstream longer. They’re also able to take advantage of a unique opportunity: they can fit through the holes in the walls of the permeable, or “leaky,” blood vessels that tend to form in tumors. When nanoparticles are injected intravenously, they flow right on through normal blood vessels, which have tight walls without holes, but selectively diffuse through the permeable vessels out into tumors.

Re:How does it recognize cancel stemcell? (1)

ZankerH (1401751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313080)

Kill them all, let the autopsy sort them out.

The 100k was a ripoff (1, Offtopic)

WaterDamage (719017) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312122)

The big pharma company(ies) will make billions from her discovery wile giving her a mere $100k! If I were her, I would have demanded indefinite royalties or 100 million dollars.

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (2)

EETech1 (1179269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312168)

I can see it now...

"I cured cancer... (and after paying off my student loans) all I got was this damn T-shirt"

If it works, I hope she gets properly compensated!

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (2)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312242)

I'm not betting on it. The entry contracts for the competition probably contained some intellectual property clause or another.

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312442)

at least she'll get a career & probably at least an honorary degree or scholarship out of it?

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312766)

So what? If this is a cure for cancer, I would consider it a crime against humanity to keep it locked behind intellectual property law.

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (1)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312976)

You think anyone who's opinion is politically relevant gives a fuck about that?

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (1)

gajop (1285284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313124)

Even if it was, it's ok if it'd be kept behind patents and intellectual property law as long as they'd sell it, and I bet they would.
Or do you think 100k is what you get when you curse cancer?

Re:The 100k was a ripoff (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313378)

If I discovered or created a cure for cancer, it would be released under a free license already and posted on BitTorrent before I even told the competition organiser.

The thought of bargaining for your life with a pharmaceutical company makes me feel physically ill.

Details Theory? Experiment? Treatment? (2)

Zebai (979227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312126)

I just couldn't find information from the article or the links in the article. I was curious if this was just theory and design from a thesis or if she actually did any actual experiments. Did she design the entire nanopartical treatment or just the part about adding gold/iron based tracing compound. Did she actually verify that she could monitor a treatment in real-time with these metal additives by MRI or is this all on paper. Real time imaging of cancer treatment does sound like a good idea for measure effectiveness I just want to know how much of this work was hers the wording suggests she developed the entire nanoparticle treatment process in addition to enhancing it with a mineral they could image. I'm impressed if so and wonder just what stage her research is at.

Did SHE do it? (4, Insightful)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312146)

I am wondering whether it was her specifically who did it. I have been lead to believe that high-school students work under PHD researchers. Specifically, she was working under a Stanford PHD researcher with 10 - 20 years experience researching cancer. So, I take this with a grain of salt.

Re:Did SHE do it? (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312174)

Frequently, when a person under 20 accomplishes something noteworthy in the world, it is a direct result of the influence of parents, teachers, coaches, and others in their lives, not of their own action. It's just too hard to figure out all that stuff on your own, at the same time you are figuring out life in general.

I'm not saying this is always the case, just in the vast majority that I've observed.

Re:Did SHE do it? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313100)

I agree completely. Everyone should get their applause and their grant money here - but some serious thought needs to go into exactly what the hell happened when a high school student even has a shot at cracking a code like this. Most people are buried beneath a steaming pile of banality during their high school years. They're prepping student body political campaigns, writing papers on To Kill a Mockingbird, and trying to figure out how to dress in a way that will yield satisfying relationships.

There was a kid who graduated from my University at age 18 a few years ago with a Pre-Med degree. The first thing I thought was, "How sad that so few people are given the opportunity." We've studied development and neurogenesis to the point now that we know the difference between accidental happenstance and concerted purposive design. If more people were given the appropriate feedback early on about their own capacities and worth, this kind of functionalizing of young minds would be the baseline of education and not the one in a billion pot-shot it comes across as. We're totally selling ourselves short by shoveling Harry Potter and prom flower ribbons down our kids throats.

And for fuck's sake people... NO, a teenage girl did not just singlehandedly cure cancer. There is absolutely zero chance that she has a working understanding of quantum mechanical wave equation interpretations for molecular orbitals underpinning protein formation, let alone cell development and receptor pathways for the thousands of types of cells and their reproductive signaling constructs. The confounding issues of differentiating between self and non-self, histocompatibility and regulatory mechanism compatibility... they're not trivial. Medical doctors and academic researchers spend careers scratching at the surface of extremely narrow cases, and rarely find purchase on topics that are universally generalizable. Most all of them never produce replicable experimental designs towards deepening knowledge, just tiny slivers of insight into particular scenarios.

If this girl actually did run across the magic words and concepts that produced something workable, it is still extremely disingenuous to describe her as a "high school student" ... the ammunition one needs to acquire to even begin firing shots off in the right direction is never provided until midway through a Pre-Medical undergraduate major - at a good University. "High schools" around the world don't begin to describe this stuff. What you would be seeing is the triumph of home-schooling, autodidacticism, private tutoring, mentoring, nepotism, etc... the exact polar opposite of public education models. If everyone had to "get it" before the class could move on, this kind of student performance would be impossible.

Re:Did SHE do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313288)

When anyone accomplishes something it is under the influence of those same people, people they work with, people who made earlier accomplishments in the field. While a lot of these influences are in the past and people generaly become more independent when they grow older, it doesn't mean those influences aren't there. If this girl had been ten years older, and coached into this direction ten years ago, and had taken ten years longer to accomplish this, her accomplishment would have seemed more autonomous because more time had passed between the influence and the result, but in reality that influence would likely still have made all the difference. Getting there more quickly is pretty impressive.

This view is as black-and-white as yours, of course, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

Re:Did SHE do it? (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312180)

I'm with you on this one. Don't a lot of researchers give their assistants first-billing?

Re:Did SHE do it? (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312322)

Well like all research it of course builds upon work from others. Those PhD researchers themselves usually work in a team, exchanging ideas and work results, in the process teaching each other about various aspects of the work, giving each other new suggestions on how to do stuff, etc. Sometimes the view of an outsider can be very enlightening.

To move on in research and make new discoveries, someone has to come up with a new idea, and that someone (or someone else) has to work out that idea. That idea may appear to be a little improvement, later unexpectedly working out to something great.

Indeed in this case I wouldn't be surprised if it works out roughly like that: experienced researcher walks around with various ideas in his head, gets a student assistant, and then gives that student assistant one of those ideas to work out. And then this happens to be a smart student that gets a promising idea to work on which actually works out surprisingly well.

i like this artical (-1, Offtopic)

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We will not live to see it. (2)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312166)

Now, I do not really like to be a cynic, but I just cannot imagine that big pharma will put up the money to actually cure something. There just is not the same profit margin as there is for treatments.
Perhaps, you say, a small company could put this on the market. I say, no chance. Not for lack of want, but for lack of money.
The way that the FDA is setup, it costs hundreds of millions to bring a new medication onto the market. No small company could foot the bill.

Perhaps someone else knows of a way for a small firm to do it, but I cannot think of it. Still, I hope I am wrong.

Re:We will not live to see it. (4, Insightful)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312262)

Easy. Do it outside of the USA first.

Re:We will not live to see it. (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312362)

EU also has very strict requirements on allowing medication or treatments onto the market. No clue how much it costs, other than that it's very expensive and requires a lot of testing to be done to see whether it's safe and effective.

Small firms will have to get venture capital on board. That part is actually relatively easy in the US, there is a lot of such capital available. And I'm sure there are plenty of people who are more than willing to invest in promising "cure for cancer" research even if they would be sure that they would not get back their investment.

Dubai (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312610)

You can currently receive an Ovarian cancer vaccine treatment in Dubai that is only in a very small first trial in the States. Sure it costs over a hundred grand and insurance won't cover it but it's an interesting way to attract more wealth to the country. It won't surprise me to see more of this in the future.

Re:We will not live to see it. (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312378)

Any actual evidence of this? Beyond rants of course. Take HIV for instance, big pharma is by not the only one working on the disease, not by a longshot. And yet nobody has found a cure. The big pharma you rant and rave about has also released a vaccine to prevent the most common forms of HPV, despite the fact that at least according to your model of the world they would be better off letting the women get cancer. Big Pharma does a lot of slimy things, but I have yet to find any hard evidence of this particularly popular /. meme being true.

Re:We will not live to see it. (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312512)

There is no truth to it. It is a combination of the general anti-corporate whining some people like to do and the badly misinformed position of more or less thinking anything you don't know how to do must be easy.

In medicine it is a particular problem since not that long ago, there were a lot of advances and simple solutions. Once humanity got an understanding of cellular life and infections and all that, there were massive advanced made pretty easy. Hell you sterilize an operating room and give a patient post-op penicillin and it was amazing how many problems just didn't happen anymore.

Thing is, that time is gone. We've solved the simple medical problems. We are getting on to the much harder ones. As such dealing with them is more difficult.

You have some things like herpes. Not a major health issue, but a tough one to deal with. Normal immunization procedures won't work. Why? Well viral immunization works by introducing something to the body, generally a dead or weakened strain of the virus, that the body can see and learn to fight off safely. That is also why they don't work post-infection. Your body already had the virus and learned how to fight it. Thing is, with herpes you do have it, it stays with you. So the body has it, but can't learn to fight it. Means introducing it would do fuck-all. Have to work something else out.

Or things like cancer or autoimmune diseases where the body -IS- the problem. It is attacking itself. It isn't an outside agent that you could try and find a way to eliminate, the body has turned on itself for some reason. Makes elimination much harder.

But people aren't informed. They think it is just the evil companies that could magically cure all this, if only they weren't so greedy. Not at all the case. We are dealing with hard problems, and they'll only get harder. The more ills that we solve, the harder the remaining ones will be to solve.

Epic failure with that example (2, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312718)

The big pharma you rant and rave about has also released a vaccine to prevent the most common forms of HPV

No, that was actually Australia's taxpayer funded CSIRO. I'm sure there are plenty of other examples where you would be correct but you just happen to be cmpletely wrong with this one.
To make it an even worse example, the HPV vaccine is being held up by some as an example of the price gouging by US companies because despite their costs being equal or less than every other place for that product they charge more for it. Charging what the market will bear is not slimy - pretending that it is to cover the development costs of something where they only have to pay licencing cost is.

Re:We will not live to see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313052)

Also, I guess the Wellcome Foundation doesn't count as "big pharma" any more?

Re:We will not live to see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312416)

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2005/06/28/cancer_delusions.php
http://www.skepticblog.org/2011/05/16/another-cure-for-cancer/

Yawn.

Re:We will not live to see it. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312648)

It only takes one of them to break ranks. If you've got 10 "big pharma" companies all selling "treatments", each one will get roughly one tenth of a never ending money train. If you have 9 companies producing "treatments", and one selling a real life miracle cure, you'll have one company selling their product quicker than they can make it, and nine selling bugger all.

Assuming you don't have a cartel in place (which is a big assumption to make), capitalism should in theory force the companies to race each other to the next stage, even if it means their eventual death.

Re:We will not live to see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313042)

Actually.. even if you DO have a cartel in place, capitalism should in theory force them to race each other to the next stage.

Because the ONE company that breaks ranks, finds the cure, and releases it to market gets to Scrooge McDuck in the cash anyway. Not like any of the other 9 could protest like "hey! we had an agreement not to research that stuff.."

The fun of trying to figure out economic reality is the many, many different potential factors that all affect outcomes.. like.. a cartel in a business with multiple parallel markets (such as pharm, where treatments for major afflictions aren't going to overlap for any individual patient too much) is potentially less likely to break ranks with the cartel, since they could only capture the market for a cure for X, leaving their competitors alive on the other markets in which they play and aware of the betrayal.

Re:We will not live to see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312682)

Perhaps someone else knows of a way for a small firm to do it, but I cannot think of it. Still, I hope I am wrong.

Kickstarter. Ill people and those who care for them are desperate for miracles and often even fall pray to cons. They would gladly finance a small firm offering any chance for cure.

Been done before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312172)

she didn't create anything, nanoparticles have been used before to kill cancer http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2008/04/kanzius_therapy

similar idea but differnt method as John kanzius (4, Informative)

magsk (1316183) | more than 2 years ago | (#38312210)

This guy did this already in a way I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kanzius [wikipedia.org] But she had the brains to deliver it via the drug (not sure if his particles would be dilviered via the drug but dont see why not). Also he wanted to kill the cancer with radio waves heating the particles, her particels on the worthless biography says nothing about how the particles perform the function (at least that I saw)

You all have it wrong. (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313116)

All that happens is the cancer cell is shown the article and told to read the title! Cell suicide ...the new age cure!

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Cant wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38312286)

until this causes the zombie outbreak.

I agreed! (-1)

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Ya, but here's the question (0)

ExtremeSupreme (2480708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313392)

How many journal articles has she published? She has to get on that shit pronto, 17 is almost too late to start racking up authorships and co-authorships! Chop chop, you lazy girl. You won't get tenure the way you're going!

Great job! (1)

ExtremeSupreme (2480708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38313400)

Too bad your last grant proposal fell through because you forgot form 27B-6. You're a drain on this University. You're fired, get out!

swiss-army knife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38313570)

Interesting, but from the context, I don't think the term "swiss-army knife" means what they think it means. "Swiss army knife" is an analogy for a single tool that combines multiple capabilities to be able to be used for a multitude of tasks, becoming an "all-purpose" tool itself. This one seems incredibly specific.

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