Meet 14-year-old student who invented soap to treat skin cancer, costs just…

Heman Bekele made the affordable soap by combining three components with medicinal soap, as per reports.

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Meet 14-year-old student who invented soap to treat skin cancer, costs just…


    A 14-year-old American student from Frost Middle School in Fairfax County named Heman Bekele has created a soap that may be able to prevent skin cancer. After competing in the 2023 3M Young Scientists Challenge against nine other individuals, he was crowned America's Top Young Scientist. 

    According to a Washington Post report, he also received the $25,000 grand prize. The soap contains ingredients that might reactive skin-protect cells, giving the soap the ability to combat cancer cells, as per the ninth grader. It would cost less than $10. 

    Bekele’s LinkedIn bio reads, “Freshman attending Woodson High School. Self-taught programmer- fluent in Python, Lua, JavaScript, and C. Passionate about medicine, programming, and making an impact. Eager for opportunities in research and internships in STEM & computer science.”

    "To see that all of the hard work paid off in the end, it was really a surreal experience," Heman told the outlet. 

    “Curing cancer, one bar of soap at a time,” he said in his submission. “I have always been interested in biology and technology, and this challenge gave me the perfect platform to showcase my ideas,” he added.

    He claimed that the inspiration struck him while he was living in Ethiopia and observed how people there were often working outside in the sun. He ignored it, but when the competition dates drew nearer, he remembered that time and made the decision to concentrate on skin cancer research. 

    He said, "I wanted to make my idea something that not only was great in terms of science but also could be accessible to as many people as possible." Heman continued, saying that his product needs to be "most convenient and most trustworthy" in order for people to use it as frequently as possible and for it to become a "constant" in their lives.

    Heman got selected in the top 10 category and was paired with a mentor Deborah Isabelle, who is a 3M product engineering specialist. She said that the teenager "focused on making the world a better place for people he hasn't necessarily even met yet" and could see his passion in their first meeting. 

    It took several months of experimentation to create a working prototype with a combination of chemicals. Heman used computer modelling to determine the recipe for the soap prototype he planned to submit at the tournament. Skin Cancer Treating Soap "uses a compound that helps revive dendritic cells, which are killed by cancer cells" is how the soap functions. The dendritic cells can combat the cancer cells after they have been restored to health. This, according to Isabelle, "reactivates the body's healing power" and teaches the body "how to defend itself".

    Heman points out that while there are several lotions available, a cancer treatment soap has never been tried. He stated to the panel during the presentation that he wants the soap to become a "symbol of hope, accessibility, and a world where skin cancer treatment is within reach for all."

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