Openly Gay Teen Researcher Jack Andraka Takes on Cancer

Image via Jack Andraka

Image via Jack Andraka

Jack Andraka has already accomplished more as a junior in high school than most scientific researchers do in a lifetime. Jack, who lives in Maryland, invented a tool that detects three types of cancer earlier, cheaper, faster, and with greater accuracy than ever before as reported by MetroWeekly.

He had to borrow a lab from a Johns Hopkins researcher to make it happen, but now holds an international patent on the detection tool and is working with medical companies to bring it to market. His work was featured in a TED talk earlier this year (several, in fact), and he is already the focus of multiple documentaries.

Oh, and he’ll soon testify in front of Congress on the importance of open access journals to meaningful scientific progress. When he was trying to look up cancer studies in his free time as a ninth grader, he repeatedly ran up against online paywalls and proprietary publications that prevented him from gaining full access to the data that could have been most helpful.

The 16-year-old is also openly gay. When asked what it was like coming out as gay to his family and friends three years ago he said it was “relatively painless.” It’s important to him that other people know he’s not a “complete nerd” and loves to kayak as well as study cancer, as reported by MetroWeekly. Jack regularly tweets at his mom and the scientist who let him use his lab.

Watch the 60 Minutes video after the jump…


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