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Teen Makes Leap in Study of Own Rare Disease Published: February 28, 2014

At 18, Elana Simon is already the co-author of a study in the renowned journal Science. The subject? Her own rare liver cancer, which she was diagnosed with at age 12, according to

Together with scientists, another survivor of the disease, her surgeon, and her dad, who runs a cellular biophysics lab, Simon was able to discover what the AP describes as an "oddity" in fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, which mostly hits kids and young adults: an abnormal protein inside the tumors, but not in healthy liver tissue, that may fuel cancer growth.

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