16-year-old develops treatment for cystic fibrosis

I don't what you were doing at age 16. I was getting my driver's license, trying to get girls' attention, and generally being a useless dork. I can tell you that I was not developing treatments for genetic disorders. Leave that to guys like Marshall Zhang: Teen Discovers Promising Cystic Fibrosis Treatment.

Marshall Zhang, a 16-year-old from the Toronto area, used a supercomputer system to find a new drug combination that shows potential in treating the genetic disorder cystic fibrosis -- work that won him first place in the 2011 Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge:
Cystic fibrosis is a potentially fatal condition caused by a genetic mutation, or error. It causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the lungs and elsewhere. Cystic fibrosis occurs most among white people of northern European ancestry, in about 1 out of 3,000 live births. In the past, most people with cystic fibrosis died in their teens, according to the Mayo Clinic. It has no cure.

At his mentor's lab, Zhang used the Canadian SCINET supercomputing network to investigate how two promising new compounds acted against the defective protein responsible for the condition. Using computer simulations, he figured out how each of these drugs acted against the protein and discovered they acted on the protein in different spots, raising the possibility they could be used simultaneously without interfering with each other.

Zhang then tested his theory in living cells, and the results exceeded his expectations.

"They actually worked together in creating an effect that was greater than the sum of its parts," he told LiveScience.
I barely understand what any of that means, but I get enough to know that this kid is pretty damn smart, and is using his knowledge for something that might actually help people. Real world application is a long way off, but hopefully his research lays the groundwork for other discoveries. Props, young Marshall.

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