Teen Cancer Genius

Google Science Fair winner makes important ovarian cancer discovery

(RxWiki News) She's 17 years old and lives in Fort Worth, Texas. And Shree Bose has made an important discovery about ovarian cancer. No wonder she won this year's Google Science Fair.

Bose's project, one of thousands of Google Science Fair entries from around the planet, focused on drug resistance in ovarian cancer. She zeroed in on an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and why it overwhelms the common chemotherapy drug cisplatin.

"High school student makes important cancer discovery."

This incoming senior at Fort Worth Country Day School discovered that blocking (inhibiting) AMPK in cells does one of two things when it reacts with cisplatin. Regular cells had reduced cell death when AMPK was blocked. If the cells are resistant to the drug, though, blocking AMPK helps cisplatin kill the cancer cells.

After accepting the award, Bose said in a Scientific American article, that the protein might be changing roles or it might be contributing to cancer cells becoming resistant. Scientific American was a sponsor of the fair.

As the fair's grand prize winner, Bose will receive a $50,000 scholarship from Google to the college of her choice, along with a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands and other prizes.

Bose became interested in cancer research following the death of her grandfather. She carried out her experiments at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, under the tutelege of mentor Alakananda Basu, professor of molecular biology and immunology.

Winners in other age group categories were:

  • Naomi Shah, 16, of Portland, Ore. (15–16 age group) who looked at the link between airborne pollutants and respiratory disease
  • Lauren Hodge, 14, of York, Pa. (13–14 age group) who tested how various marinades affect the formation of carcinogens in grilled chicken.
  • Bose also won in her age group category

Google's online science fair attracted more than 7,500 entries from 91 countries.

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Review Date: 
July 12, 2011