Eva Vertes is a microbiology prodigy. Her discovery, at age 17, of a compound that stops fruit-fly brain cells from dying was regarded as a step toward curing Alzheimer's. Now she aims to find better ways to treat — and avoid — cancer.

Why you should listen

Eva Vertes may not yet have the answers she needs to cure cancer, but she's asking some important -- and radical questions: If smoking can cause lung cancer, and drinking can cause liver cancer, is it possible that cancer is a direct result of injury? If so, could cancer be caused by the body's own repair system going awry?

She asks this and other breathtaking questions in her conference-closing 2005 talk. Her approach marks an important shift in scientific thinking, looking in brand-new places for cancer's cause -- and its cure. Her ultimate goal, which even she calls far-fetched, is to fight cancer with cancer.

What others say

“Vertes and her colleagues are gifted researchers who realize that stem cells hold an infinite amount of possibility within their amazingly small frames. Unlocking their potential will produce cures that could end the suffering of hundreds of millions of afflicted people.” — Digital Journal

Eva Vertes’ TED talk

Eva Vertes on the TED Blog

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

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Biology

Eva Vertes told us first: Stem cells may cause brain cancer

September 15, 2005

Princeton sophomore Eva Vertes told us her theory at TED2005: That stem cells — seeking to initiate repairs in the body — may actually be the root of cancer. So cancer may, in fact, be the body’s own repair system gone awry. Well, research increasingly is backing her up. Cancer Cell journal reported recently that […]

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Quotes from Eva Vertes

It’s possible, although far-fetched, that in the future we could think of cancer being used as a therapy.
Eva Vertes
TED2005 • 728K views Oct 2006
Inspiring, Fascinating