When I was a teen, science experiments involved baking soda and vinegar. Nowadays, teens are discovering cures for cancer. That was what happened, anyway, when 18-year-old Olivier Cloutier decided to do some experimenting on a product his mom touted as a health food.
Chia seeds have gotten a lot of attention in the past few years thanks to their array of health benefits. Like any fine scientist, Cloutier wanted to see for himself if they were worth the hype. He started studying the seeds and found that an extract from the seed not only stops the growth of cancer, but it can also promote cancer cell death. His findings won him the first place prize at the Hydro-Québec Science Expo. But maybe more importantly, they are a huge win for the fight against cancer.
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He follows in the brilliant footsteps of other impressive teens, like Jack Andraka, who is arguably the most popular kid at his high school. However, it isn’t for his achievements on the football field. The freshman took home the grand prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and $75,000 to go along with it for discovering a method to detect pancreatic cancer at an earlier stage.
Angela Zhang made headlines a few years ago when she was just 17 after she took home $100,000 from the Siemens Science Contest for developing a nanoparticle system to both detect and treat cancer.
Keven Stonewall, 19 at the time, discovered a potential key to curing colon cancer while he was on an internship at Rush University. The Chicago teen said he was driven to do something after losing friends and family to cancer. Although his friends initially gave him a hard time for studying so much, Stonewall has since won several awards and the respect of his friends.
This generation of teens can get a bad rap for being irresponsible, entitled and glued to their smartphones. But these teens prove that this might be the generation to make major improvements to the way we detect and treat cancer. They haven’t even reached their 20s yet, nor are they backed by big grants or major companies, and the achievements they’ve made already rival most adults’.