‘Boy wonder’ Jack Andraka to speak at MUSC’s innovation event Saturday

Jack Andraka, 18, is giving the keynote speech at MUSC's Life Sciences Student Innovation Day saturday, to discuss the potentially revolutionary test he developed at age 15 to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer. (Provided).

Many high school seniors are visiting college campuses around the country this time of year, weighing their options and mapping out their future paths. But when MUSC hosts Jack Andraka this weekend, it will be anything but a typical high school student’s visit.

Once called “boy wonder” by CBS’ “60 Minutes,” the 18-year-old will deliver the keynote speech at the medical university’s Life Sciences Student Innovation event on Saturday, which is meant to encourage college students across the state to pursue their innovative ideas.

At age 15, Andraka developed a test to detect pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancer, which has since been heralded by many in the scientific community as a potentially revolutionary tool in cancer detection research.

His test could be more cost- and time-effective than current detection methods, and Andraka has said his research shows the test is 90 percent accurate, according to a recent report by National Geographic.

The Jefferson Award for public service and the 2012 Intel ISEF Gordon Moore Award are among many accolades the young innovator has collected in the past three years.

Now a senior at a Maryland high school, Andraka plans to attend Stanford University next year. In the meantime, he gives speeches around the world advocating for medical research funding and youth innovation programs.

His keynote speech in Charleston will be at noon in MUSC’s Drug Discovery Building at 68 President St. The event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. will include panel discussions and the Student Innovation Contest, a competition among students who submitted life science-related ideas and research.

“This is a unique event that brings in students from all the state’s universities so they understand the great resources and tools available to them and know that our respective innovation offices support their ideas for changing the world,” said Michael Rusnak, executive director of the MUSC Foundation for Research Development.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail