US teen helps scientists study her rare disease

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WASHINGTON (AP) — An American teenager who survived cancer decided to study her own rare disease, and helped point scientists to a gene flaw that might spur it.

Age 18 is young to be an author of a study in the prestigious journal Science. But an industrious high school student spearheaded a research project that is bringing new attention to this mysterious disease.

Elana Simon was 12 when she was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of liver cancer that mostly hits adolescents and young adults. Surgery left her cancer-free. But a high school internship helped her launch the project with help from her scientist father and her doctor. The result, published Thursday, is a small study and more research is needed to tell what the gene flaw actually does.

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