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The Escapist Awards Winners - Game of the Year Goes to ...

The Escapist Staff | 30 Dec 2014 15:00
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Most Significant Breakthrough in Science & Technology of 2014

Read more about the nominees here.

Adult Human Cells Successfully Cloned
Lockheed Martin Makes Breakthrough in Nuclear Fusion
DARPA Develops 1 THz Circuit
Biologists Delay Aging Process in Fruit Flies
Researchers Eliminate HIV Virus from Human Cells
Breakthrough Graphene Synthesis Method
Nanomotors Inserted and Steered within Living Human Cells
Researchers Cure Liver Disorder in Mice through Genetics
New Means of Destroying Spreading Cancer Cells
Rosetta's Philae Lander Touches Down on Comet

And the Escapist Award goes to ...

Science and Tech 7th Story Good Size

New Means of Destroying Spreading Cancer Cells

Senior Editor C.J. Miozzi says: A great deal of deliberation went into selecting a winner for most significant breakthrough in science & technology. We consulted alumni with backgrounds in biology, biochemistry, planetary science, and chemical engineering, and opinions were mixed on which was most deserving of this award.

We wanted the winner of this award to be the breakthrough with the greatest potential to change the world and have the biggest impact on the most people possible. This helped narrow the candidates down to a single breakthrough.

Lockheed Martin's designs for a new nuclear fusion reactor would have been a sure winner... if they had shown us something concrete. What they are promising is truly revolutionary, but it's little more than a promise at this point. If their claim holds true - that they can build and test a functional design in as little as a year - then they are bound to win our 2015 award.

The touchdown of the Philae lander on comet 67P was an incredible achievement for humanity and the advancement of space exploration, but it lacks the appreciable everyday impact that many of these other candidates possess. The nanomotor achievement shows great promise toward the advancement of nanotechnology, but its current applications seem limited. The advances made toward curing HIV and genetic disorders were certainly contenders as well, but if there is a single deadly disease that impacts the world like no other, it's cancer.

This year's award goes to the Cornell biomedical engineers who developed a new way to destroy metastasizing cancer cells. It may not be a cure for cancer, since it only kills cancerous cells in transit and not tumors, but this method can potentially be combined with current tumor-killing/removal techniques to great effect. We have developed techniques to treat localized cancer, but cancer becomes especially deadly when it spreads. Once that happens, chances of survival and recovery drop dramatically.

According to the World Health Organization, 2012 saw 14.1 million new cases of cancer occur worldwide. That year, cancer was responsible for 8.2 million deaths - 14.6 percent of all human deaths in 2012. Roughly 90 percent of cancer deaths are attributed to cancer that has spread, so if an effective means of killing spreading cancer cells is developed, millions of lives a year can potentially be saved.

That's it. The Escapist Awards for 2014 was a blast to assemble because it allowed us to focus on celebrating the parts of our culture we truly enjoy. Here's to more happy times in 2015!

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