October 19 2018: Indian American teenager Rishab Jain was named the overall winner of the 2018 Discovery Education and 3M annual Young Scientist Challenge, earlier this week at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minnesota USA. Thirteen year old Rishab created an algorithm to make pancreatic cancer treatment more effective by using artificial intelligence to accurately locate and track the pancreas in real-time during MRI radiotherapy.
A seventh-grader at Stoller Middle School in Portland, Ore., Jain competed alongside nine other finalists during a live competition at the 3M Innovation Center. He received a $25,000 prize.
Pancreatic cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. An inherent challenge of radiation treatment for pancreatic cancer resides in targeting the pancreas itself. Firstly, it is often obscured by the stomach or other nearby organs, making the pancreas difficult to locate, and second, breathing and other anatomical changes may cause the pancreas to move around in the abdominal area. As a result, radiotherapy treatment can inadvertently target and impact healthy cells, it noted.
Rishab developed and tested his algorithm using images of the human digestive system, and found it could correctly detect the pancreas with a 98.9 percent success rate. The innovation aims to improve accuracy, reduce invasiveness and increase efficiency during treatment, resulting in better quality of life and chance for survival among patients, according to the companies.
Of the finalists – named in June, five of the 10 were Indian Americans. “All of the finalists for America’s Top Young Scientist embody the same curiosity, creativity, and passion that 3M uses when we apply science to life,” said Paul Keel, senior vice president of business development and marketing-sales at 3M. “These talented young men and women are just beginning their lives as scientists. I am excited by the endless possibilities that await each of them. We wish them all the joy and success that comes from a lifelong journey of exploration.”
The nine finalists received $1,000 and a variety of prizes from Discovery Education and 3M. The second, third and fourth runners-up also received a trip to a taping of a show on Discovery’s family of networks, the release said.