"At the heart of my nanosystem is the drug delivery capabilities," Angela wrote to us in an email. "My nanoparticle was designed to be preloaded with a cancer drug that would be released directly and selectively at the tumor site to eradicate cancer cells. The greatest advantage that a drug delivery system has over many current cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, which tends to attack cancer and healthy cells, is minimization of toxicity to non malignant/healthy cells."
She said that the hope of the project was to "personalize cancer treatment" by improving treatment efficacy while improving the patient's quality of life during cancer treatment.
Zhang said that it took years to come up with the idea. She began researching this project in her spare time as a mere freshman in high school, when she began reading doctorate level papers on bio-engineering and attending numerous scientific talks. By sophomore year she started working in a lab at Stanford, and by junior year was doing her own research.