If you never heard of 19-year-old Keven Stonewall, he’s one of the bright lights in an otherwise very dark summer in Chicago.
The high school senior from the South Side has dedicated his young life to becoming a scientist who leaves a lasting impact in the medical world. Primarily focusing his talents on curing colon cancer, Stonewall, is working on a potential vaccine at a Rush University lab, according to DNAInfo.
“My friends, family members have died from cancer,” Stonewall said in a recently released video. “A lot of people are impacted by cancer. So I felt it was my role to step up and do something about it.” As he became more and more engaged with solving the issue that plighted his personal life, Stonewall’s friends began to mock his dedication to science. “I was one of the few kids who were engaged,” he said. “At first they were making fun of me, like ‘Come on man, why you want to be in the lab all day?'”
Sooner than later, Stonewall’s time in the lab was producing real results, which turned his buddies argumentation into adulation. “A lot of my friends are that much more motivated to do better. I can make a difference in someone’s life without even knowing it,” Stonewall says.
His experiment calls for a special high concentration of the drug mitoxantrone to be injected into the subject. Utilizing younger and older mice, Stonewall then injects the mice with aggressive colon cancer cells. After a few days, Stonewall learned that his experimental vaccine was 100% effective on young mice. Tumors were gone and they went on to show immunity to colon cancer.
Stonewall’s lab director at Rush University, Carl Ruby, said that the 19-year-old helped scientists to realize they needed a special vaccine for older subjects. “He should be heralded for helping to develop more effective colon cancer treatments that will impact the elderly, the population that is most susceptible to colon cancer,” Ruby told DNAInfo. “He has all the tools. He will go far.”
The sky is not a limit for this talented Chicago teen. Having won numerous distinctions for his research, Keven Stonewall was a finalist for the Intel International Science and Engineer Fair in 2013. Now, as a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, his goal is to create a vaccine that can one day be tested on humans. “If you don’t plan to succeed, you’re planning to fail,” Stonewall said.