While some students might be wondering as they sit in their science or math class, What am I going to use this for? Albany Academy student Alydaar Rangwala is already using his science education to fight a rare disease.
A senior at the school, Rangwala is competing in the final phase of the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search in Washington D.C. on March 15, as one of the top 40 high school students from throughout the nation, with the possibility of winning a $100,000 prize.
With the top ten students on tap to receive a monetary award, Rangwala seems more interested in meeting other competitors just like him, most of whom he said he has spoken with already and has classified them as "great people."
"Even parallel to the competition, it's that experience of just meeting them, interacting with them, learning from them and making lifelong friends there," he said. "So while we're all there, it is a part of the competition but it is also just a great forum for like-minded people to meet. These are all kind of kids that will be with you for a long time."
The disease Rangwala is focusing on is Langerhans' Cell Histiocytosis (LCH), which is an autoimmune disease that occurs mostly in children from one to three years of age with an overload of histiocytes, a form of white blood cell, known as Langerhans, according to Hisitio Cytosis of America. This can result in bone pains, lung, liver or spleen dysfunction and sometimes mental deterioration.
The disease acts like a cancer but is not really one. Rangwala said it has a high mortality rate, and other than going through chemotherapy, there is not really a well documented treatment. In his mission to help people, Rangwala has been researching to try and find a better treatment option.