A 14-year-old scientist, Heman Bekele, has developed a soap that could potentially aid the immune system in fighting skin cancer.
His invention won the top prize in the Young Scientist’s Challenge, an annual competition encouraging innovation among young minds. Inspired by memories of people working under the hot sun in Ethiopia, Heman’s soap delivers drugs through the skin, activating the immune system to combat cancer cells.
The soap’s main compound, imidazoquinoline, is FDA-approved for treating conditions like warts and basal cell carcinoma. The soap, with lipid-based nanoparticles, aims to provide an affordable alternative to expensive skin cancer treatments.
The soap’s unique formulation, utilizing lipid nanoparticles, leaves a medicinal layer on the skin after washing. While awaiting FDA certification for human testing, Heman plans to turn his passion project into a nonprofit organization by 2028, providing accessible and equitable skin cancer treatment.