7 Healthcast: Cancer Cure
Whether she is hanging out with friends, doing homework on the computer, 17-year-old Anu Kotha seems like any other high school senior. But all agree that there's something special about her.
Dr. Richard Jove, M.D., Moffit Cancer Center
"She's very unique and an inspiration I think to all students..."
Anu is on a quest to cure cancer. For her it's personal.
"I knew from an early age I wanted to work with cancer. It runs in the family and I have seen many friends be affected by it."
Anu has already made great strides. It all began with her freshman science project. She decided to study Reservitol a compound in grapes believed to be a powerful antioxidant.
"The grapes seed and skin, that's where it's found. They produce it as a defense mechanism."
So at the tender age of 14, Anu Russled up her courage, went to the Moffitt Cancer Center and asked if she could put reservitol to the test.
Dr. Richard Jove
"She came to me with a very specific idea, that showed me she had researched her topic very, very thoroughly..."
Dr. Jove agreed to let her work along side his scientists.
Anu Kotha, Teen Scientist
"The first years of my research I spent on non-human cells basically mouse fiberglass cells."
Anu discovered the compound could kill tumor cells while having no effect on the healthy cells. Further testing on human cancer cells found the same thing.
Dr. Richard Jove
"We realized actually very early on that she had something. What is extraordinarily about her is to be able to do research side by side with other physicians and scientists, who are very highly trained."
"I love science from the beginning and then particularly the research was just seeing cancers effects on people on the whole and realizing that this is not something that should be here and we need to do something about it."
Anu's work is getting her lots of national and international recognition. She's in November's issue of Seventeen Magazine. MIT has named a planet after her, but her focus is her work.
"Maybe these compounds can be used as a form of prevention or in conjunction with chemo-thearapy or other methods of treatments for cancer."
…A promising idea for a young scientist.
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