16-year old makes Cancer Breakthrough with Open Access

In this video interview, Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, talks with 16-year-old Jack Andraka about how he researched journals online to invent a breakthrough cancer diagnostic test that won the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

As Jack said in the video, the test costs just $0.03, takes just 5 minutes, can discover certain cancers earlier, and is 100% accurate in clinical trials so far.

The key message is that open access to the expanding medical knowledge base has the potential of putting patients at the center of their healthcare, democratizing discovery & innovation, and giving the e-patient new options for researching their own illness, including collaborating with others having the same illness through social media.

CBS 60 Minutes

Andraka Speaks at TED

Smithsonian Channel

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4 Responses to “16-year old makes Cancer Breakthrough with Open Access”

  • Hi, I think that I saw you visited my site so I came to “return the favor”. I’m trying to find things to enhance
    my web site! I suppose its OK to use some of your ideas!!

  • Why Biotech Whiz Kid Jack Andraka Is Not On The Forbes 30 Under 30 List — Forbes reporter Matthew Herper was critical of this kid. Because I felt he too easily discounted the importance of his discovery, I wrote the following reply, and after he defended his position, I commented again.

    COMMENT-1: One problem with Peer Review is that the peers often have a financial interest in protecting their own status and technologies and are naturally skeptical of disruptive technologies. As Harvard’s Clayton Christensen suggests, The very nature of new & disruptive innovations is that they aren’t fully baked, so conservative and risk-averse organizations aren’t interested. The ones who are interested are looking for ways to exploit new technologies as a way to compete and establish a market foothold. They’re willing to put skin in the game and help develop the new technology, and once proven to the point of gaining market share, the conservatives become interested and start to adopt it too. So while some see great promise in Andraka’s work, others summarily discount it. That too is natural.

    COMMENT-2: Thanks for reading my reply. I’m not surprised in your response but guess it’s a matter of perspective since we see the world through different filters.

    As Christensen wrote in “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” and again in “The Innovator’s Prescription” (about health care), conservative companies aren’t much interested in truly disruptive technologies. Companies who are lower on the value chain, however, specifically seek out these technologies for competitive advantage. They know the ideas are half-baked but are the ones who are willing to take the risk and would take Jack under their wing and work with him to prove his concept so it can eventually live up to the potential they see in it.

    There’s currently so much profit in the medical industrial complex (over $2.7 trillion/year or about 18% of GDP) that it generally resists health reform and disruptive change and spends twice as much on lobbying as the military industrial complex to protect those profits. This observation is consistent with the documentary, “Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue America’s Healthcare,” and Steve Brill’s TIME Magazine report, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills are Killing Us.”

  • [...] I wrote about the recently announced breakthrough discovery by 16-year-old Jack Andraka, who developed an early stage diagnostic test that costs just $0.03, takes just 5 minutes, and can [...]

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