Angela Zhang is living proof that not all high school girls are obsessed
with clothes and boys. This 17-year-old graduate from California's
Monta Vista High School has just been awarded a $100,000 scholarship for
her discovering a possible cure for cancer.
The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Zhang was recently awarded the grand prize at the 2011 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for her project called Design of Image-guided, Photo-thermal Controlled Drug Releasing Multifunctional Nanosystem for the Treatment of Cancer Stem Cells.
Her idea involved mixing cancer medicine in a polymer that would attach to nanoparticles, which would then fasten themselves to cancer cells and show up on an MRI allowing doctors to exactly where tumors are. The nanoparticles are also capable of targeting tumors, eradicating cancer cells, and monitoring
treatment responses all at the same time. When tested on mice, the system proved to be effective as the cancer tumors were almost completely eradicated. There no doubt that it could take years to know if this research might
work on humans, but it's still a step in the right direction.
She tells Business Insider she was thrilled with the results, and hoped the project would be able to "personalize cancer treatment" by improving treatment efficacy while improving the patient's quality of life during treatment:
"I definitely would love to pursue research in the future and hopefully this project," Zhang said. "I enjoy research greatly because it provides a great intellectual challenge that also has a societal impact. Cancer research has always been an exciting field to me; however, I am also open to other activities and other fields of research. I am excited to see what the future holds!"
In the meantime, Zhang already has plans to attend Harvard in the fall. We doubt this will be the last time we hear from this prodigy.