Colette Benko - A Novel Pediatric Cancer Therapy Targeting Epigenetics and Neuroblastoma Differentiation

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Colette Benko

Colette Benko – Calgary, AB – St. Mary's High School

Project: A Novel Pediatric Cancer Therapy Targeting Epigenetics and Neuroblastoma Differentiation

 

At 13, Colette Benko was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. She went through the chemotherapy procedure, experiencing all the negative and debilitating side effects. What inspired her research was seeing kids, younger than herself, getting a harsher treatment.

The Grade 12 student has since dedicated much of her free time to the University of Calgary research lab, focusing on looking for new, less toxic treatment for neuroblastoma, a cancer that typically effects children under five. Her research and trials have uncovered an alternative drug treatment from the current practice that could be used to treat neuroblastoma patents at a lower concentration, but with higher results, vastly improving a patient’s quality of life with less long-term side effects. A huge improvement compared to the current options.

Benko earned the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in 2017, and second place at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, an international competition.

Further reading: 

Calgary student's childhood cancer project impresses at international science fair

Teen cancer survivor wins $7,500 research prize

Calgary students clean up at largest student science competition in the country

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Stuart Kite

Coop Student from Algonquin College's Journalism Program