Next time you want to know something, you might consider asking the nearest kid, especially if that kid is 8-year-old Camilla Lisanti. After a long hard day in the cancer research lab, Camilla’s scientist parents were making a little small talk at the dinner table when they turned to their daughter to get her opinion on strategies for curing the deadly disease. Probably expecting some kid-like answer, what they got instead might be the greatest theory of all time, much less in her short life. That’s right, an 8-year-old little girl just might have the answer to unlocking the cure for cancer.
Professor Michael Lisanti, Camilla’s dad, told The Daily Mail, “She has heard us talk about cancer a lot and we thought it would be fun to ask her what she thought about cancer therapy. We asked her how she would cure cancer and she said ‘Mum and Dad, I would just use an antibiotic, like when I have a sore throat.” Instead of dismissing her outright, Michael Lisanti followed through on his daughter’s hypothesis, saying, “She usually is right about things. She always has a snappy answer that makes sense.”
Camilla’s parents, husband-and-wife cancer researchers at England’s Manchester University, know a little something about searching for a cure, but it never occurred to them to ask their young daughter what she thought about the matter.
Her answer, her simple idea prompted her parents to head to the lab to test the girl-genius’ theory out. What they discovered is she really wasn’t that off base. Here’s the science-y breakdown: antibiotics are known to block the production of mitochondria in the cells that make us sick with things like strep throat or bronchitis. Well, cancer stem cells ALSO have a lot of mitochondria, so the same antibiotics Camilla takes to cure her sore throat are the very same that could help to block cells from forming cancerous tumors.
The Lisanti’s research is still in the early stages, but when Camilla’s parents tested her theory in the lab, the antibiotics destroyed the cancerous cells in the preliminary findings. These antibiotics killed stem cells in samples from many of the most diagnosed areas in the body like the breast, prostate, lungs, and brain. Camilla’s parents even made her an author on the study to acknowledge just how much her idea helped them.
Think about what Camilla’s hypothesis could mean for the millions of people who contract cancer every year. We’re really jumping the gun here but if the science holds up, Camilla could be the link that scientists needed to finally eradicate cancer. That’s a whole lot of accomplishment for one little girl. In fact, that’s a whole lot of accomplishment for anybody.