A 16-year-old openly gay American student who developed a pioneering cancer test has been honoured by the Vatican.
Jack Andraka from Crownsville, Maryland, is an inventor, scientist and cancer researcher who’s received international acclaim for coming up with a new, quick and inexpensive method to test for early stage pancreatic, ovarian, and lung cancer.
His technique may well save countless lives by indicating the presence of cancer at the stage at which it can more easily be treated.
After winning a number of prizes for his work, Andraka has now been awarded the Vatican’s International Giuseppe Sciacca Award, an honour which he admits is special.
“It’s really amazing to be recognised by the Vatican, especially as a gay scientist,” Andraka told WBAL News from Rome about his latest honour.
“I mean this would be unheard of just a few years ago. To be part of this bridge of progress is really amazing.”
Andraka has been openly gay since he was 13, and has happily discussed his sexual orientation with the world’s media.
When asked by The New Civil Rights Movement to talk about being gay, he responded:
“That sounds awesome! I’m openly gay and one of my biggest hopes is that I can help inspire other LGBT youth to get involved in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.] I didn’t have many [gay] role models [in science] besides Alan Turing.”
Andraka developed his cancer test when he was just 15 and was inspired by the death of a family friend from pancreatic cancer, which is notoriously difficult to test for until it is often too late.
He was recently profiled on the iconic American television news magazine program 60 Minutes. Watch below.