What if handwashing, a simple measure to prevent the common flu, could also offer protection against skin cancer?
The idea may sound audacious, but it wasn’t conceived by an Anderson Centre laureate; rather, it emerged from the mind of a 14-year-old.
Heman Bekele, a 9th-grade student at W.T. Woodson High School in Annandale, Virginia, clinched the grand prize of $25,000 as the victor of the 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge, presenting a melanoma treatment in the form of a soap bar.
As the champion of the nation’s premier middle school science competition, now celebrating its 16th year, Bekele has been bestowed with the distinguished title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.”
He expounds that his inspiration stemmed from contrasting the melanoma recovery rates in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa (99% to 20%).
By amalgamating uncomplicated compounds into the soap, which kept costs minimal, he managed to create a product that stimulates the activity of dendritic cells, serving as defenders of skin cells.
“The imperative for scientists and innovators to craft solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges has never been more pronounced. This year’s Young Scientist Challenge finalists have exhibited the requisites for reimagining what is achievable—intelligence, inquisitiveness, cooperation, and resilience,” articulated John Banovetz, executive vice president and chief technology officer of 3M.
“The enormity and intricacy of the predicaments these young intellects are addressing are truly motivating.
Congratulations to this year’s finalists—we eagerly anticipate your future endeavors!” Skin cancer stands as the most prevalent cancer in the United States, with an average annual treatment expenditure of $8.1b.
Inspired by this costly and widespread health predicament, Heman devised an economical soap solution that could potentially ameliorate skin cancer outcomes.
In the ensuing five years, he aspires to perfect this innovative concept and establish a non-profit organisation aimed at supplying this cost-effective remedy to underserved communities.
Source: Good News Network