Report By: Nina Rai
California, 14 Jan., 2012
A high school student of Asian descent from California has come up with an astounding theory to beat cancer. What she has propounded for tackling the deadly disease will go a long way in assuring that the future of America in research and scientific field is indeed in safe hands.
The 17-year old student known as Angela Zhang is nothing short of a genius. A Chinese by birth, Angela of Cupertino, California is your quintessential American teenager, who loves collecting shoes and is recently learning to drive too. However, what separates this normal American teen from other students from Monta Vista High School, in her peer groups who are busy texting or updating their Facebook pages; is something which she first discussed with Kavita Gupta, her chemistry teacher.
It was an incisive research paper that Angela wrote during her leisure hours. According to Prof. Gupta, it contains the most amazing recipe for curing cancer. "Cure for cancer -- a high school student….It's just so mind-boggling. I just cannot even begin to comprehend how she even thought about it or did this," says Gupta totally overwhelmed. Speaking to CBS News Correspondent Steve Hartman Angela said "I just thought, 'Why not?' 'What is there to lose?'"
It was in 2009 when as a 15 year old freshman that Angela first began reading doctoral level papers on bio-engineering. In the beginning she said it was a bit intimidating, but then for her it became like puzzle which was something she had to “decode.” Then by her sophomore year she managed to wriggle her way into a Stanford lab and by the time she was in her junior year she was doing her own research.
The ambitious girl during her research concentrated on cancer stem cells, as these are most resistant to treatment. But she seemed unfazed by the daunting challenge of such strong cells, which she had began researching. It was after painstaking 1000 hours inside the lab that Angela succeeded in developing a nanoparticle that not only attacked cancer cells effectively but even permitted easy searching and monitoring of the results inside the body.
When Hartman during the course of the interview asked Angela to explain about her research this is what she explained. Basically her idea was to combine cancer medicine in a polymer that would attach to nanoparticles. The nanoparticles would then attach it-self to cancer cells and appear on an MRI scan. This would enable the doctors to see where the tumors exactly were. Her brainwave was that if one aimed an infrared light at the tumors to melt the polymer and then release the medicine, this would result in killing the cancer cells at the same time leave healthy cells untouched and unharmed.
It was a pretty amazing concept indeed. Of course, it may take years to find out if it can work on human beings, however, when trials were conducted on mice -- the tumors nearly vanished totally. The teenager recently entered her project in the National Siemens Science contest. For her efforts Angela took home $100,000 check. (Check Picture). She plans to continue her studies in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering or physics. Her goal is to be a research professor “to make new innovations possible.” One day, thanks to her brilliant mind, her nanoparticle can be used to save numerous lives.
Source: CBS News (Video)