Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024
alert-–-virginia-student,14,-crowned-america’s-top-young-scientist-and-awarded-$25k-after-developing-soap-that-treats-skin-cancerAlert – Virginia student,14, crowned America’s top Young Scientist and awarded $25k after developing soap that treats SKIN CANCER
  • A 14-year-old student developed a bar of soap that treats skin cancer
  • He  infused medicinal soap with salicylic acid, glycolic acid and tretinoin
  • READ MORE:  Skin cancer can be prevented by a THREE-second microwave

By Stacy Liberatore For AlertContent.com

Published: | Updated:

A 14-year-old boy has been named America’s Top Young Scientist for developing an affordable bar of soap that treats skin cancer.

Heman Bekele, a ninth grader at W.T. Woodson High School in Annandale, Virginia went head-to-head with nine other finalists in the 2023 3M Young Scientists Challenge and took home the $25,000 grand prize.

Bekele made the cancer-fighting soap by infusing medicinal soap with three ingredients that have been found to reactivate dendritic cells that generate an immune response to combat cancer.

Not only does his soap help fight skin cancer, but Bekele found that each bar costs just $0.50, compared to the more than $40,000 needed for current medical treatments.

Over the next five years, Bekele hopes to refine this novel innovation and create a nonprofit organization to distribute this low-cost solution to needy communities. 

Heman Bekele, a ninth grader at W.T. Woodson High School in Annandale, Virginia went head-to-head with nine other finalists in the 2023 3M Young Scientists Challenge and took home the $25,000 grand prize

Bekele found that each bar costs just $0.50, compared to the more than $40,000 needed for current medical treatments

‘Skin cancer is mostly found in people living in developing countries,’ Bekele told Farifax County Public Schools.

‘But the average price for an operation is $40,000. 

‘I was devastated by the idea of people choosing between treatment and putting food on the table for their families. There are so many preventable deaths.’

The teen started researching skin cancer and learning about dendritic cells, which he said help protect the skin by boosting immune response. 

Bekele’s video submission for the competition explains that the three ingredients, salicylic acid, glycolic acid and tretinoin, are keratolytic agents that break down the skin’s outer layers.

This allows toll-like receptors, proteins that play a key role in the innate immune system, to be released into the skin that latch on to and reactivate dendritic cells.

Bekele made the cancer-fighting soap by infusing medicinal soap with salicylic acid, glycolic acid and tretinoin, which have been found to reactivate dendritic cells that generate an immune response to combat cancer.

Bekele calls the product skin cancer-treating soap or SCTS, which he said can be applied to the skin every couple of days after a prescription

The dendritic cells join with white blood cells to fight the infected cells.

Bekele calls the product skin cancer-treating soap or SCTS, which he said can be applied to the skin every couple of days after a prescription. 

Along with his title comes a $25,000 prize, which Bekele hopes to put toward securing a patent and college. 

He has dreams of becoming an electrical engineer when he grows up.

‘I envision myself leading a team of professionals in the development of innovative electrical systems that will shape the future of technology,’ Bekele said.

‘Alongside my professional success, I hope to have a fulfilling personal life with a loving family and a strong network of friends. 

‘I also hope to have given back to my community by mentoring aspiring engineers and supporting initiatives that promote STEM education. 

‘Ultimately, in 15 years, I hope to have positively impacted the world through my work and personal endeavors.’

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