When Shree Bose was in second grade, she tried to make blue spinach. At just 17 years of age, she won the first Google Global Science Fair with her research into ovarian cancer, reports The New York Times.
For the winning research Ms. Bose looked at a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, that is commonly taken by women with ovarian cancer. The problem is that the cancer cells tend to grow resistant to cisplatin over time, and Ms. Bose set out to find a way to counteract that.
She found the answer in a cellular energy protein known as AMPK, or adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase. She observed that when AMPK was paired with cisplatin at the beginning of treatment the combination diminished the effectiveness of cisplatin. But added later on, when the cancer cells were growing resistant, the AMPK worked to maintain the effectiveness of cisplatin, allowing it to continue killing the malignant cells, at least in cell cultures.
â€œThat opens up a lot of new avenues for research,â€ Ms. Bose said. Her research was supervised by Dr. Alakananda Basu at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.
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