Engineering 101

High School Student Advances Cancer Research During Pandemic

Stephen Litt, a junior enrolled in the Kennesaw Mountain High School Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology (Magnet program), took advantage of the pandemic to update his Phase VI research at the Cobb-Paulding Science Fair and the Georgia State Science Fair where he earned First Honors recognition.

His research made national headlines four years ago when he proved that cancerous tumors could be prevented in planarian worms exposed to the green tea antioxidant, EGCG. Now, he’s working at the molecular level.

During Phase V of the research, he elucidated the mechanism by which EGCG may be functioning. Litt identified the portion of the EGCG molecule that binds to a specific protein. He has now advanced the research to the point of understanding which protein in humans EGCG is likely binding to, therefore preventing the spread of cancer.

Litt used a multipronged approach to predict and prove the location on a specific protein where EGCG may bind and render the protein non-functional. The approach involves computer software, advanced instrumentation and custom peptide and plasmid synthesis to prove Litt’s hypothesis.

The implications of this approach allowed for an accelerated process to identify potential small drug molecules to treat various diseases.  Also, small molecules that alter the function of RNA may prove that small molecule therapy can be developed for many diseases.

Litt is a former Broadcom MASTERS finalist and two time ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair) finalist. He is already at next stage of research which will involve genetically varied proteins and testing of how EGCG may bind to the varied protein structures. For more information visit: https://egcg.home.blog

Original Source: PR Newswire

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