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Could This Chicago Teen Cure Colon Cancer Someday?

ASHBURN — Keven Stonewall likes to say “innovation doesn’t have an age,” which makes sense considering the 19-year-old could be on his way to curing colon cancer.

Working at a Rush University lab while still in high school, the Ashburn native revealed a critical age-related drawback in an experimental vaccine aimed at preventing colon cancer in mice.

A vaccine that could work on seniors is now being developed.

Stonewall “should be heralded for helping to develop more effective colon cancer treatments that will impact the elderly, the population that is most susceptible to colon cancer,” said Carl Ruby, the Rush University professor who operated the lab where Stonewall did his research. “He has all the tools. He will go far.”

Stonewall has spent the last year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he’s a rising sophomore and further researching a colon cancer vaccine that could eventually be tested on humans — and “possibly down the road eradicate colon cancer.”

“I am very passionate about doing colon cancer research,” Stonewall said. “If it works on humans, I would be overwhelmed. My whole life would flash in front of me.”

Seeing the Impact of Cancer

Stonewall’s love for science began during a fifth-grade science class at Chicago International Charter School’s Wrightwood campus, where he was immediately fascinated by looking at cells under a microscope. That Christmas, he received four microscopes as gifts.

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