14-year old invents soap to treat skin cancer

A 14-year-old middle school student named Heman Bekele from Annandale, Virginia, has been recognized as „America‘s top young scientist“ for his innovative project aimed at treating melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Melanoma affects around 100,000 people in the United States annually, leading to approximately 8,000 deaths.


Bekele‘s submission was titled „Curing cancer, one bar of soap at a time,“ and he attributed his passion for biology and technology to his success. His groundbreaking idea involves creating a special soap, he simply calls „skin cancer treating soap,“ made from compounds that can reactivate dendritic cells responsible for protecting the skin and enable them to combat cancer cells. The inspiration for this project stemmed from Bekele‘s early life experiences in Ethiopia, witnessing people working under the sun. His goal was to develop a solution that would not only be scientifically significant but also accessible to a wide range of individuals.

Skin cancer, the most common cancer type, includes melanoma, which accounts for just 1% of cases but is responsible for the majority of skin cancer-related deaths. The American Cancer Society reports that melanoma rates have been on the rise, especially among women over 50, and it is more common among white people. Following his award win, Bekele aspires to turn his soap invention into a symbol of hope, accessibility, and a world where skin cancer treatment is readily available to all.