A soap with potential to treat skin cancer invented by a teenager from Virginia, who was born in Ethiopia, has been recognized for its innovation.

Heman Bekele, a 14-year-old student from Fairfax, Virginia, has developed a novel soap that holds potential for the treatment of skin cancer in the future. Referred to as Skin Cancer Treating Soap (SCTS), Heman claims that a mere $8.50 is required to produce a batch of 20 bars. In an interview with ABC News, Heman expressed his belief that this innovation could serve as a viable option for individuals who lack the necessary resources or facilities to combat this disease. If proven effective, SCTS could potentially be utilized during the initial stages of skin cancer. Heman emphasized the simplicity, affordability, and accessibility of a bar of soap in comparison to contemporary skin cancer treatments.

According to Heman, the soap he created in 8th grade has the ability to reactivate dendritic cells that enhance human immune responses, thereby combating the development of skin cancer cells. Heman explained that his soap, known as SCTS, functions as a compound-based bar and is infused with various cancer-fighting chemicals, with the primary one being imidazoquinolines.

Deborah Isabelle, Heman’s mentor for the 3M Young Scientist Challenge and a product engineering specialist at 3M, praised him as an incredibly bright, passionate, and focused young man. She also noted that Heman possesses great traits for a scientist, including compassion and charisma. With his curiosity and determination, Isabelle expressed confidence that Heman will make a positive impact on the world. Regarding the likelihood of SCTS treating skin cancer, Isabelle acknowledged that it is possible, but clinical trials that could take up to a decade would be necessary. Heman has not yet conducted physical trials, instead relying on digital molecular testing, secondary data analysis, and formulaic computations to arrive at his findings.

Isabelle has stated that there are topical creams available for treating skin cancer, however, they are more costly than SCTS and have different ingredients and formulations. Heman, who was born in Ethiopia and migrated to the U.S. at the age of 4, recalls the impact of poverty on the people of his homeland who worked and toiled under the scorching sun. The young scientist is concerned about the effects of constant exposure to ultraviolet rays on the people of his country. Heman believes that this issue is not limited to Ethiopia but is a global concern. He further adds that the cost of treatment for skin cancer is a major challenge for those who cannot afford it.