Gay Teen Scientist, Jack Andraka, Honored By Vatican
Jack Andraka, who if you'll remember is the gay 16-year-old who (at 15) created a nearly 100-percent accurate test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer, is now being honored by the Vatican!
We wonder if the gay teen genius would have made the cut before Pope Francis came into play?
Jack is receiving the International Giuseppe Sciacca Award for his work; the award recognizes youth that are outstanding in their field and is named after an Italian architecture student who died at 26-years-old.
Jack spoke with WBAL News, saying:
"It's really amazing to be recognized by the Vatican, especially as a gay scientist. I mean this would be unheard of just a few years ago. To be part of this bridge of progress is really amazing," Andraka told WBAL News.
"It just shows how much the world has grown to accept people that are gay and are LGBT. It's really amazing."
As he continues to develop his early cancer detection tests, which he says could be on the market in the next five to ten years, Jack is also moving forward with other projects. He's leading a group of high school scientists in an effort to create a smartphone sized device that can detect other diseases.
He's also advocating for “open access” to taxpayer-funded scientific and medical journal research. Andraka explains that while doing his own research to develop his cancer detection test, he had to research thousands of scientific journals, with each at a cost of around $35.
He tells WBAL:
"I had to read thousands of them, so it was very cost prohibitive," Andraka said.
"Because of this we have this big disconnect between youth and science. A Katy Perry single costs 99-cents. A science article costs $35, so there is big mixed message."
Jack proposes that any research that was done with taxpayer funds should be available for free after a six month embargo.
We can't wait to see what else Jack comes up with in the coming years!