The device immediately “sees” metastases: Ukrainian student has developed a method for early diagnosis of cancer

Прибор сразу «видит» метастазы: украинская школьница разработала метод ранней диагностики рака

A revolutionary method for detection of melanoma metastases at an early stage and suitable device for innovative diagnostics, which was invented by a graduate of the chemical-biological faculty of the Mariupol technical Lyceum Olga Harasahal (pictured in the header), has been successfully used on in Mariupol oncologic dispensary.

At the prestigious international science competition, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in the US, the project of Olga received fourth place. The invention of young Ukrainian women interested in American scientists, suggesting that she collaborate with one of the most prestigious closed research centers in the world. According to experts, the technology of diagnostics, presented to Olga in the future may be adopted as the single international standard for the diagnosis of melanoma.

Last week, the girl was enrolled in the budget Department of the Ukrainian National medical University. A. A. Bogomolets. About themselves and their scientific work of Olga Harasahal said “FACTS”.

“The cost of my device 30 thousand hryvnias, and its imported counterpart — million dollars”

Olga, congratulations on getting into University.

Thank you. A doctor I decided to be still in elementary school. My mother is a physician.

— As the winner of the contest offered training in USA?

Yes. The opportunity in a more comfortable environment to complete your research me, of course, very attractive. We agreed with the Americans on cooperation in remote mode. While we prepare a joint publication. And learn I will, as planned, in Ukraine.

— Tell us about your project.

— My project is an innovative method of early diagnosis of melanoma metastases, one of the most dangerous malignant tumors. Most often it occurs on the skin and may produce a rapidly progressive metastases in almost all organs. I have developed a technique that allows blood to detect the beginning of the process of formation of metastases in melanoma and predict disease development. My method of diagnosis allows the physician to have a reliable prediction of disease development and, consequently, to select and quickly change the treatment, proactive development of metastases in a patient.

To see how my method works in practice, I have developed a technology of its application and created a unit to study patients ‘ blood — an apparatus for vacuum liquid filtration of blood. Is a necessary link in the process chain diagnostics. The prototype was manufactured by a domestic enterprise for the means of my parents. Currently working to patent his invention. The cost of my device — about 30 thousand hryvnia. And its imported counterpart, which is used in the American diagnostic technique for Cell SEARCH® — about one million dollars.

In Ukraine no government health facility does not yet have in his possession any such expensive technology or equipment for its application. The cost per analysis by the method of Cell SEARCH® — two thousand dollars. My technology is not inferior in quality, much easier to use. The cost of one analysis on my device — $ 20.

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— Olga, why this research topic?

— Because a decrease in mortality from oncological diseases is a global problem. The death rate from melanoma is highest. And the success of treatment largely depends on timely and accurate diagnosis. This chain of logic led me to research in the field of diagnostic (translational) medicine.

In addition, we, together with my supervisor, a lecturer in biology at the Lyceum Vyacheslav Ponomarchuk, in 2015, attended the conference, which was held at the Department of biomedical engineering, opened in Mariupol five years ago at Priazovskiy state technical University. The conference was made by head of surgical Department, Mariupol cancer center. He admitted that the Agency lacks staff and called on the help of volunteers. In 2014-2015, our frontline staff was not enough literally everywhere: many residents fled the town, fearing that coming war.

I responded to the call and in November 2015 he became a volunteer of the cancer center. It also influenced the choice of topics of research work. In the clinic I was entrusted with handling and disposal of drugs, unpacking inventory, collecting patient data, maintaining a laboratory journal, registration directions and conclusions. Most of the time I spent in the diagnostic unit where my mother works as a laboratory assistant. I worked with blood, cytological samples and were able to practice to study the various types of melanoma. In his first scientific work was conducted by the Parallels between the types of melanoma, and their biological behavior. This work won prizes in Ukraine.

And in February of 2017, when in Mariupol oncologic dispensary began to think about how to acquire the technique for the diagnosis of circulating tumor cells approved in the United States, it became clear that such a purchase unfeasible for local budgets. This prompted me to develop a new diagnostic method, which would be equally effective but not so expensive.

“The level of competence of Olga allowed her to successfully conduct a dialogue with a Nobel laureate”

— To get to the national team of Ukraine, which took part in the competition Intel ISEF, — continues Olga, it was necessary to first protect their work at all-Ukrainian competition of Intel Eco-Ukraine — 2019. It was attended by 219 students, presenting 197 projects. The jury had to choose only six projects. Two of them were presented at the international competition of scientific and artistic Genius projects in new York. But four, including my time at Intel ISEF in Phoenix (United States).

For two years my method was the study involved 152 patients Mariupol oncologic dispensary. The results of clinical trials have shown high efficiency of the invention. I submitted to Intel Eco-Ukraine — 2019.

Прибор сразу «видит» метастазы: украинская школьница разработала метод ранней диагностики ракаTwo years ago, Olga became a volunteer of the cancer center and was engaged in scientific work

— And how appreciated your work on the contest in the United States?

Among the judges evaluating my work, was an American, who for five years worked with the analog my design — a method of Cell SEARCH®. She said that my technique of diagnosis can be adopted as a unified international technological standard for the diagnosis of melanoma. We exchanged contacts, scheduling cooperation on the basis of Argonne national laboratory, which was visited by our team. Were able to go there thanks to the curator of my project — the honored teacher of Ukraine Vyacheslav Ponomarchuk.

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— Vyacheslav V., how to assess the achievement of students? “FACTS” is not the first time you write about your children who represent Ukraine at the international level.

— Proud. Fourth place is my victory. Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the biggest and most prestigious international “competition for young geniuses” for students from around the world. It is held annually in the United States for the past 69 years. The national team of Ukraine to take part in this competition since 2004, but for all time, this is the first victory of the Ukrainians in the field of medicine and biology.

Some experts doubted that the girl had independently made the discovery. But to present their project at the competition, only the original developer who needs to conduct a dialogue with the jury. The jury consists of the world’s best specialists, scientists. In that section, which assessed the work of Olga in the USA, was for example, the Nobel prize in chemistry 2008 American neuroscientist Martin chalfi.

The level of competence reached by the Olga, and enabled her to successfully engage in dialogue with the Nobel laureate. On his discovery, she worked with the international requirements. She has studied high school textbooks, including American, Cytology, biochemistry, molecular genetics, and of course, Oncology, used in the theoretical part of their work portal data chromosomal Bank of the United States. Separately studied American standards of management on sanitary inspection behind quality of foodstuff and medicines.

“It gives the opportunity to predict the appearance of metastasis, which no one has ever offered”

— Olga, you say felt the molecular mechanism of chemical recognition of modified cells, — continues Vyacheslav Ponomarchuk, — which formed the basis for the creation of its own technology of diagnostics and apparatus vacuum liquid filtration.

The design of this apparatus and how it works in General are not new. But a method of diagnosis that suggested Olga, is fundamentally different from the previous one that allows you to capture a demonstration of a chemical reaction at the stage when certain blood cells productionsequence certain chemicals. That is, the method by Olga gives you the ability to predict the occurrence of metastases, which no one has ever offered.

By the way, American scientists have learned about work by Olina before our arrival. Head of Department of fundamental biology and medicine, which we visited, immediately turned to Olga, asking her: “You’re the girl — author of innovative methods of diagnosis?” In the lab, Olga has offered training in graduate and continuing work with the prospect to make the method a single international standard. Today such a standard for the diagnosis of melanoma in the world.

I note that Argonne laboratory is one of the most prestigious closed research centers in the world. But my students suggested cooperation, regardless of her age and qualifications. I think this approach is correct. There is success, confirmed by practice, it means that there are grounds for cooperation. In Ukraine, the novice scientist who have already achieved high results, it is much harder to get the attention and funding of their work. Alas…

— Research in the clinical diagnostic laboratory of the cancer center continue?

Yes. All clinical trials is the mechanism that runs for many years. Olga conducted these studies in addition to their volunteer work. We are very grateful for the assistance of the head of the medical institution, the candidate of medical Sciences Sergey Petrovich Voloshin, who provided us the opportunity to test

— Sergei Petrovich, the invention of the schoolgirl-a volunteer helps to improve the quality of patient care? — ask a question to the chief physician of Mariupol on oncological clinic Sergey Voloshin.

— Of course, this technique improves the quality of treatment, as it allows us to detect melanoma metastases in the preclinical stage. It was impossible before. This is the way to solve global problems: optimization of treatment, which prolongs the patient’s life and improves its quality. The method introduced in our institution in practice two years ago. Apparatus for the study of blood patients work physician assistant.


Photo in the header of Denis BILKO

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