Ben Kesler

Ben Kesler

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Desert Vista High School graduate Ben Kesler has been working towards something his parents have urged him to do for as long as he can remember: curing cancer.

In a lab at the University of Arizona, he has been working full time to test various compounds from a National Cancer Institute compound library. The tests are run on both cancerous and normal cells with the goal of finding something that kills significantly more cancer cells than normal human cells, and some of the results look promising.

Before joining the lab, Kesler was accepted into the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) at the U of A, which partially funds undergraduate research so that more students can do science early on. Richard Kris and Stephen Felder are different from many of the researchers at U of A because they spent a large portion of their careers working for biotech companies.

Now they are partners and own their own company called Nuvogen Research, which has patented a number of inventions ranging from a plate washer called “Squirt” to a complex assay that can test the expression of 17 different genes for 96 different samples at a time.

So far one of the most promising molecules killed a cancer cell line about 17 times as much as the normal cells.

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