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Devin D. Thorpe
Devin Thorpe

Everyone Said he Couldn’t Do It, But That Didn’t Stop Him

Everyone told him he couldn’t do it.

Jack Andraka was a typical teenager. When a close family friend died of pancreatic cancer, Jack learned that most people are diagnosed too late. Patients don’t develop symptoms until they are too sick to survive.

So Jack decided to develop a better diagnostic test.

He began reading the scientific literature. He even sneaked an article on carbon nanotubes into his biology class. The teacher caught him. When the teacher scolded him for not paying attention to the lecture on antibodies, he had an epiphany.

He realized that antibodies in nanotubes could be just the trick for diagnosing cancer.


He applied to hundreds of labs to conduct his experiments.

Hundreds of labs said “No.”

Finally, one said “Yes.”

He spent seven months in the lab and developed a working diagnostic test strip.

  • It costs 3 cents to produce.
  • It takes 5 minutes to run.
  • It is 168 times faster than the gold standard test.
  • It is 400 times more sensitive.

Jack says his talent isn’t unusual. He says, “If a 15-year-old who didn’t quite know what a pancreas was could find a new way to affect pancreatic cancer, imagine what you could do.”

Learn more on Forbes.

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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at!


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