Student from La Quinta High School in Westminster creates cancer-detecting toothbrush

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Friday, December 2, 2022
La Quinta High School student creates cancer-detecting toothbrush
A La Quinta High School student is receiving global recognition for inventing a cancer-detecting toothbrush. It was all inspired by his late grandmother, who lost her life to brain cancer.

WESTMINSTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Phuc Nguyen, who likes to go by James, is a senior at La Quinta High School in Westminster. He is receiving global recognition for creating a toothbrush that detects cancer.

James was featured on "Good Morning America" and received recognition for being one of five Rise winners.

Rise is a global initiative that focuses on the mission to support the next generation of change makers. More than 100,000 young people from all over the world competed.

James was inspired to create a his cancer-detecting toothbrush after his grandmother died due to brain cancer.

"I started this endeavor hoping to make an impact on the lives of cancer patients so that they don't have to experience what my grandmother experienced," he said.

This tragedy happened seven months after he and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam in 2019.

While talking to his cousin about brushing his teeth, James got an idea to develop a microchip that could collect saliva from a toothbrush, detecting cancer early.

"The thought just popped up right away: What if I put the microchip inside the toothbrush and so when people brush their teeth, the saliva would go through the toothbrush, go through the chip in the toothbrush and detect cancer?" James said.

James and the other finalists with brilliant ideas were all crowned winners on "GMA." The winners will be provided with college scholarships and more.