Teen helps scientists study her own rare disease

By By LAURAN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON (AP) — A 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 (uh-LAH-na) Simon of New York 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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