Fourteen-year-old Heman Bekele has been named “America’s Top Young Scientist” for inventing a type of soap that can fight skin cancer.
“Curing cancer, one bar of soap at a time,” was the simple yet memorable mission statement Bekele reportedly said during his submission for the award that has now captivated the world.
Here’s exactly how Bekele’s bar of soap was invented to help treat skin cancer.
How does soap treat skin cancer?
The Washington Post detailed that Bekele’s soap, as he explains it, “would be made with compounds that could reactivate the cells that guard human skin,” which would then allow them to fight off cancer cells.”
The idea for this invention reportedly came to Bekele from living in Ethiopia, where he had witnessed people working in the hot sun on a consistent basis.
“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,” Bekele said, according to The Guardian.
The American Cancer Society reported that the most common type of cancer is skin cancer, with melanoma rates continuing to increase “rapidly over the past few decades.”
The risk of having melanoma is also reported to increase as people age, with the average age of those getting it being 65 years old. However, it is also “not uncommon even among those younger than 30.”
How did a 14-year-old find a cancer treatment with soap?
“I believe that young minds can make a positive impact on the world,” Bekele said in his submission for America’s Top Young Scientist, according to USA Today. “I have always been interested in biology and technology, and this challenge gave me the perfect platform to showcase my ideas.”
WIO News explained that Bekele had used medicinal soap with “three other ingredients” in order to make the cancer curing soap with the cost of one bar of soap being $0.50.
“Skin cancer is the most common in people living in developing countries. However, the average price of an operation is $40,000,” Bekele reportedly said.
In the U.S., Utah has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the nation, according to the Deseret News.
The Times of India reported that Bekele’s next steps include “refining his invention further and establishing a nonprofit organization to distribute the soap to communities in need.”