And here’s another story that goes into the “Amazing 101” file. A 19-year-old Chicago teenager may very well be on his way to curing colon cancer!
Keven Stonewall, who works at in a Rush University lab while still in high school, revealed a critical age-related drawback in an experimental vaccine aimed at preventing colon cancer in mice.
A vaccine that could work on seniors is now being developed.
Stonewall “should be heralded for helping to develop more effective colon cancer treatments that will impact the elderly, the population that is most susceptible to colon cancer,” said Carl Ruby, the Rush University professor who operated the lab where Stonewall did his research. “He has all the tools. He will go far.”
Stonewall has spent the last year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he’s a rising sophomore and further researching a colon cancer vaccine that could eventually be tested on humans — and “possibly down the road eradicate colon cancer.”
“I am very passionate about doing colon cancer research,” Stonewall said. “If it works on humans, I would be overwhelmed. My whole life would flash in front of me.”
Stonewall discovered his love for science while taking a fifth-grade science class at Chicago International Charter School’s Wrightwood campus. He immediately became fascinated by looking at cells under a microscope.
That Christmas, he received four microscopes. His commitment to curing colon cancer came during his freshman year in high school. A good friend’s uncle succumbed to the disease. Before his senior year, Stonewall started researching a potential colon cancer vaccine while interning at Rush on Chicago’s Near West Side.
After reviewing research that suggested that a chemotherapeutic agent might help kill off other kinds of cancer cells, Stonewall set out to test whether the potential colon cancer vaccine worked on both young and old mice.
Stonewall’s research helped determine a need for a vaccine that would work on older subjects. Researchers say that his findings are clinically important since more than twpo-thirds of colon cancer patients are elderly.
The results of his research were presented at the national meeting for the Society for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer in Washington, D.C., and he is listed as lead author.
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