29 Oct US: 14-year-old invents cancer-treating soap and wins American Young Scientist Award
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
Heman Bekele, the middle school student who invented a bar of soap to treat melanoma, a skin cancer, has been named America’s Best Young Scientist.
Melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer, is diagnosed in approximately 100,000 people and causes approximately 8,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Bekele, a 14-year-old ninth-grader from Annandale, Virginia, beat out nine other contestants to win the award.
He invented a bar of soap that can be used to treat skin cancer and won $25,000 in 3M’s 2023 Young Scientist Challenge, USA Today revealed.
Bekele said with his prize money, he hopes his soap can pass the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process.
He said he wished to introduce his product to the market as an affordable treatment for a disease that kills nearly 8,000 Americans a year.
“Curing cancer, one bar of soap at a time. I have always been interested in biology and technology, and this challenge gave me the perfect platform to showcase my ideas,” he said.
He disclosed that he has ambitions to expand his work in the nonprofit space in order to help as many people as possible.
The teenager also said he looks forward to moving from just focusing on cancer to topics like DNA and electrical engineering.
“I’ve pretty much crossed oncology off my list, so I’m looking for a new specialty to learn more about,” he said.