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14-Year-Old Develops Cancer-Fighting Soap

A 14-year-old boy from Virginia has developed a soap that could potentially be used to treat skin cancer. Heman Bekele, a freshman at Woodson High School in Annandale, Virginia, won the 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge for his invention, which he calls "skin cancer treating soap," or SCTS for short.

SCTS is a soap bar that contains compounds that are designed to reactivate dendritic cells, which are immune cells that play a role in fighting cancer. Bekele's soap is still in the early stages of development, but he has shown in lab tests that it can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Bekele's invention is particularly promising because it is affordable and easy to use. He estimates that the cost of producing one bar of SCTS is about $0.50. This makes it a potential option for people in developing countries and other underserved communities who may not have access to more expensive cancer treatments.

Bekele's invention has been praised by scientists and medical professionals alike. Dr. Mahfuza Ali, a 3M scientist who mentored Bekele on his project, said that his work is "impressive" and that "he has the potential to make a significant impact on the field of cancer treatment."

Bekele is currently working to refine his soap and prepare it for clinical trials. He hopes that SCTS will one day be available to patients around the world.


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