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17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle 255

Posted by samzenpus
from the does-this-count-as-extra-credit? dept.
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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17-Year-Old Wins $100K For Creating Cancer Killing Nanoparticle

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  • by Artea (2527062) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:39AM (#38312090)
    Cure cancer, only make 100k
    • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:47AM (#38312128) Journal

      Cure cancer, only make 100k

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

      • Re:Lousy t-shirt (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pntkl (2187764) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:18AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dadioflex (854298) on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:06AM (#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.

          • by e3m4n (947977)

            in the UK she'd probably get awarded knighthood. Ive always felt that those who make this game changing discoveries in the US should get something similar to this. Maybe a lifetime of no personal income tax? if not her, whoever does come up with the total cure for cancer is likely to get some small-prize announcement and that would be the end of the story by the news media. Meanwhile we will hear year after year sports announcements about some athlete making 30 million a year who, by the way, did NOT manage

            • Re:Lousy t-shirt (Score:4, Insightful)

              by LordLimecat (1103839) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:11AM (#38314698)

              Maybe a lifetime of no personal income tax?

              Thats a really bad road to start down.

              • Re:Lousy t-shirt (Score:5, Insightful)

                by e3m4n (947977) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:21AM (#38314798)

                perhaps you're right. I just think there needs to be some decent amount of hero worship for these sort of individuals. Its totally pathetic that some athlete gets paid millions to play a game as a career and gets huge amount of hero worship. Yet some inventor or small group of scientists are going to come up with the next breakthrough that transforms the cost of energy into something so cheap its practically free for everyone; and they might get 15min of fame and thats it. Personally I think if there were more emphasis put on scientific achievement the way we put on whether someone can make a shot consistently from the 3pt line, we'd be much further along in our breakthroughs.

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              whoever does come up with the total cure for cancer is likely to get some small-prize announcement and that would be the end of the story by the news media

              It's doubtful anyone will come up with a "silver bullet" that will cure all cancers, because all cancers are different. It appears that they have cured (or at least stopped progression of) breast cancer. [sciencedaily.com] From an item I saw on the TV news the other night, it looks as though this will work even after the cancer has metathesized and spread to other parts of

            • Careful you don't over-extrapolate. She did not just "cure cancer", people are being facetious. She came up with a new, slightly different method of fighting cancer, which should be more effective and should yield more information to doctors that are monitoring treatment. This is significant, but don't go crazy.

              Knighthood is cool and all, I wouldn't mind a "sir" title, but its just decorative. Nowadays the knights are so watered down with anybody the queen thinks is special, it doesn't mean that much.
          • Most likely the competition fine print is that anything submitted by the contest becomes the property of Siemens, so basically, Siemens gets to file a patent that could be worth trillions by making a 100k upfront investment. Not saying the winner's career isn't going to be rosy, by she isn't going to get a dime more for that invention.

            BTW, if she was smart, then she should have filed a patent on her own and sold it to Siemens for far more money.

      • Or a pill to cure ED. Where the hell are your priorities anyhow?
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          You don't need a pill to cure ED, all you need to do is get rid of the ugly broad you can't get it up for and find a woman that looks a little more female and a little less ghastly.

          That's why your close vision deteriorates when you get old -- so you won't see how ugly your wife's gotten. I never needed viagra at all before I got my CrystaLens implant, I still don't need it with a 40 year old. A woman my own age? Give me two pills!

    • Re:Lousy t-shirt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:22AM (#38312288)

      And football coaches get a million plus a year.

      • There's always a bigger fish. By making arbitrary comparisons, you can make anything seem meaningless taken out of context. She won a STEM competition, 100,000 is a pretty good size for a big science fair. There's nothing that stops her from making more money off this, that is just a start.

        Especially if that other /. article about medical patents doesn't get shot down by SCOTUS... *sigh*
      • That's waht the market will bear. I think it's retarded they make so much, but Americans are more concerned with season tickets in good seats than important issues. Not that football is bad (I have no interest in it), but there's no reason to ignore everything else going on around you in politics, sciencem etc. just because you enjoy a particular sport.
    • Re:Lousy t-shirt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by c0lo (1497653) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:27AM (#38312312)

      Cure cancer, only make 100k

      ... and who owning the patent?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @06:42AM (#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?

    • by Hadlock (143607)

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

      • Re:Lousy t-shirt (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday December 09, 2011 @07:04AM (#38313334) Journal

        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)?

        • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmaiWELTYl.com minus author> on Friday December 09, 2011 @08:53AM (#38313820) Journal

          Aw man this thread is depressing...

        • 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)?

          And sadly, given the long term damage she did to the company (and even more damage she could have done if she'd stayed) it was probably money well spent to get rid of her. Too bad they haven't figured out someone to replace her with.

        • We can appreciate that a girl did good science at a young age and got a nice reward, and will no doubt get bigger rewards for her science over time (possibly for this very invention, we don't know that she sacrificed the rights to it for the competition) and we can complain about people ruining our economy without taking the two entirely out of context and making arbitrary comparisons. *sigh* oh, moral relativism. You shouldn't be happy about that new car because kids are starving in Ethiopia. Nobody should
  • Biology Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:40AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:52AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:51AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:10AM (#38312448) Homepage Journal

          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 (Score:5, Informative)

          by thasmudyan (460603) * <udo@schroeter.gmail@com> on Friday December 09, 2011 @06:43AM (#38313258) Homepage

          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.

        • by plurgid (943247)

          No, it isn't. Otherwise, it'd be a lot easier to cure.
          Correlated to the presence of MAP bacteria, yes. Symptoms the result of a bacterial infection: absolutely not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 ( make

      • "Wipe out all the cancerous cells or virus particles and you're done."

        That seems like a pretty bad endpoint. Doesn't cancer often come back even after being completely wiped out and unless you are saying that you are born with cancer does it not come into existence because of something?
        I do not think that cancer is some virus or bacteria, and wiping out the effect does not seem like a very effective solution.

        • by Andy Dodd (701)

          In some cases, cancer could suddenly "crop up" again - but usually, if it returns, it's because you THINK it was completely wiped out but it wasn't.

    • Re:Biology Question (Score:5, Informative)

      by zill (1690130) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:06AM (#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".
      • by damonlab (931917) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:23AM (#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.
        • by mlow82 (889294) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:13AM (#38312604)
          To be completely fair, breast cancer is in the breasts whereas prostate cancer is in the anus.
        • ooh, he said breasts... Is it really a suprise that breast cancer receives disproportionate "Newstime"?

          Almost 100% of the population have one (~50% of the population have 2, therefor 100% of the population have one: I learnt if from Faux News.), and well .. Breasts.

          • Actually, 100% of the population have two breasts. 50% of the population have just better developed breasts.

        • by Sez Zero (586611)

          AGreed. I'm always confused at the month of pink worn by everyone when it is called "Breast Cancer Awareness". Really, everyone is aware of it by now.

          It is boobies for goodness sakes!

      • Re:Biology Question (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Intropy (2009018) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:27AM (#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.

      • 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.
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:34AM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sg_oneill (159032) on Friday December 09, 2011 @05:28AM (#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.

    • by wcrowe (94389) on Friday December 09, 2011 @10:34AM (#38314960)

      Many more people are killed worldwide by simple diarrhea. All that is needed to cure it is clean drinking water. We could save over two million lives each year for less than what we're spending on HIV research. Too bad diarrhea is neither fashionable or tragic. There are no "brown ribbon" campaigns for diarrhea.

    • by the gnat (153162)

      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.

      Actually, while AIDS hasn't been truly cured, it is now a manageable illness in the First World due to a number of extremely successful therapies. The major effort now is devoted to preventing it entirely through use of vaccines.

      Cancer is much m

  • by edibobb (113989) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:40AM (#38312098) Homepage
    I believe she only designed the nanoparticle. Actually creating it comes next semester.
  • by Zebai (979227) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:47AM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pieisgood (841871) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:51AM (#38312146) Journal

    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:56AM (#38312174) Journal
      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? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @05:46AM (#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.

      • 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.

        And how many cases exactly do you have observed?

        I have observed none, but have heard about a lot. In genera

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

    • Re:Did SHE do it? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:28AM (#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.

    • by s_p_oneil (795792)

      It's a good question, but it's not too hard to imagine that while standing on the shoulders of giants, she spotted something he missed. Would she have spotted it without him? Definitely not. Would he have spotted it without her? Perhaps not. It is often a lot easier for someone with a different perspective to spot something new when you've been staring at it for 20 years. Or if nothing else, to ask questions that challenge assumptions you've built over the years.

      OTOH, it's also not too hard to imagine him g

    • Yeah, all entries to the competition have PHD professors sponsoring them. (And probably checking the math, doing 60% of the work and theory too.) Don't get me wrong, here in America it is impressive that she would even CARE about science at this point. Our education system beats it out of you as fast as it can. But she didn't cure cancer, that is blatantly misinforming, she just helped develop a new theoretical treatment which would be more useful and informative as it was administered, and I'm pretty sure
  • by pablo_max (626328) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:54AM (#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.

    • by pipedwho (1174327) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:18AM (#38312262)

      Easy. Do it outside of the USA first.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        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 wou

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          Plenty of other places to set up shop. Medical tourism is a big deal. I can guarantee that if you set up shop in Mexico or elsewhere, that cancer patients would flock there. If you had a genuine cure for cancer, most people would pay the price of the plane ticket. That's a paltry sum compared to the cost of medications.
      • 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.
        • The unfortunate down side of this is that you can also pay $100,000 that the insurance won't cover for a lot of snake-oil treatments (some of which are quite harmful) and most people don't have the medical expertise to distinguish between them.
    • 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 p
      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:42AM (#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.

      • 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 ch

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          Who performed the clinical trials?

          Just because a compound was licensed doesn't mean that it is without development cost. In fact, the main reason that companies license out their drugs in the first place is to avoid these development costs (I'm talking about licensing in R&D - not sales partnerships which happen in all industries and generally have different drivers).

          Drug companies pay tons of money to license compounds that don't work out and don't make a dime. When they do work out they need to reco

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      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 ot

    • by Goboxer (1821502)

      While they do make an industry, these companies are in competition with each other. One company, regardless of their feelings towards the other, just wants to make the most money. I can't imagine a pharmaceutical company passing up the opportunity to be the company that cured cancer. Their company name would become instantly household recognizable.I imagine that currently one company does not get all the cancer patient's business, but if they had the freakin' cure that would change. When trying to cure your

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      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.

      In the short term the profits are still there.

      Why is it that conspiracy theorists all think that no company is capable of thinking beyond the end of the current quarter, except for Pharmaceutical companies which are all unified in this 30-year plan to milk as much money out of health care as possible and they'll resist any 5-year huge surge in profits so that the next 5 CEOs in line after them can have a 10% higher rate of return and they can have mediocre performance?

      Companies still research vaccines, whic

    • This isn't a cure for cancer, RTFA and move along folks.
  • by magsk (1316183) on Friday December 09, 2011 @01:06AM (#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)
    • Well, then stop ranting and read the summary of her work? How stupid can one be? Knowing that others "did the same", citing them, pointing to the wikipedia article ... and being unable to read at the same time?

      Her particles are not ment to CURE. They are ment to TRANSPORT the poison that is used to kill the cancer cells.

      And to put it even more bluntly (sorry to rant but I can not get it): she got $ 100k as REWARD. Do you think the "guy" who gave it her is a "complete idiot"? Did you even notice who "the guy

  • by Lluc (703772) on Friday December 09, 2011 @09:36AM (#38314344)
    I don't want to minimize the achievement of this high school student, but it does look like she is repeating work that was published several years ago. (If this had been completely original work, I would expect her to already be a research professor instead of a HS student.)

    Look at Naomi Halas at Rice University (http://chemistry.rice.edu/FacultyDetail.aspx?RiceID=863). Her group has been engineering nanoparticles for > 5 years for the exact same application, "The Halas Nanoengineering Group is actively pursuing applications of nanoshells in biomedicine, in applications relating to ultrafast immunoassays, optically triggerable drug delivery, early stage cancer detection and photothermal cancer therapy."

    One other point: this student attends Oak Ridge High School. How much do you bet she has a parent (or at least a close adviser) who works at Oak Ridge National Lab within their biological systems division.
    • One other point: this student attends Oak Ridge High School. How much do you bet she has a parent (or at least a close adviser) who works at Oak Ridge National Lab within their biological systems division.

      All the Siemens competition students have a PHD professor as a "mentor", so yeah.

  • by FlopEJoe (784551) on Friday December 09, 2011 @11:50AM (#38315856)
    "Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells"

    Pfftt... anyone could have thought of that!
  • by nasor (690345) on Friday December 09, 2011 @12:32PM (#38316412)
    Any time you see a news story about an amazing scientific achievement by a child/teenager, there is a nearly 100% chance that the story is not accurately representing either 1) how significant the work actually is, or 2) how much of the work is actually attributable to the child/teen. I'm sure that sounds very cynical, but I've seen it time and again, virtually every time you see a "kid makes amazing science breakthrough in field that regularly stumps PhD researchers!" story. If you dig a little, you invariably find that it's not impressive as the news story makes in sound. Like in this case, were it appears that the whole thing was actually the idea of a Dr. Jin Xie. http://nano.cancer.gov/action/programs/pathway.asp [cancer.gov]

    Nanoplatform Based, Combinational Therapy against Breast Cancer Stem Cells University of Georgia Principal Investigator: Jin Xie, Ph.D. Project Summary: This project is based on a novel nanoplatform that is comprised of an iron oxide nanoparticle core, an amine-rich intermediate layer, and an outside coating layer made of human serum albumin. In this project, the iron oxide nanoplatform is loaded with a cocktail of therapeutic agents (paclitaxel, salinomycin, and tariquidar or siRNA that targets MDR-1 gene) and is used to treat breast cancer.

    Note that Dr. Xie was working at the same Stanford lab as the girl. Anyone want to place any bets on which one of them was responsible for this project? Of course, bad reporting isn't surprising; we can't expect a reporter to take the time to google "magnetic nanoparticle cancer treatment imaging stanford" and spend a few minutes looking through the results, or some similar feat of heroic investigative super-journalism. No, the interesting thing to me is how when anyone tries to point out that the story is stupid and inaccurate, people invariably freak out and accuse you of being jealous etc. It seems that a great many people can't distinguish between criticizing the child vs. criticizing the work of the reporter who wrote the story about the child.

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