19-year-old honored for achievements in cancer treatment therapy
VietNamNet Bridge - Nguyen Phuong Thao, 19, one of 10 Vietnamese outstanding young faces of 2018, is a student at the advanced training program in the Biotechnology Faculty at the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences. 


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Nguyen Phuong Thao



The Vietnamese Young Faces Award 2018 is an annual national award that honors young people at home and abroad who gain excellent achievements in various categories. Thao was recognised in the category of study. 

In 2017, as an 11th grader, she received a silver medal at the International Biology Olympiad (IBO). In 2018, she attended IBO and won a gold medal with the highest score, 98.13/100.

Thao became the first Vietnamese female student to receive the world’s highest score at an Olympiad.

The Vietnamese Young Faces Award 2018 is an annual national award that honors young people at home and abroad who gain excellent achievements in various categories. Thao was recognised in the category of study. 

Prior to that, when Thao was in the ninth grade, she won first prize at a competition for excellent students in Hanoi and came first in the entrance exam to the biology major class of the Hanoi High School for the Gifted majoring in Natural Sciences.

With excellent achievements, Thao was then awarded the third-class Labor Medal from the government. Thao said she has been passionate about biology since childhood. However, it was her grandmother which gave Thao more energy to follow biology study.

The grandmother was diagnosed with cancer when Thao was in the seventh grade. When Thao entered the 11th grade and prepared for IBO, her grandmother passed away after five years of struggling with the disease and undergoing painful chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“I will never forget the image of my grandmother. Every time when I feel tired, I think about my grandmother so I can have more energy,” Thao said.

“I don’t expect to to win a Nobel prize. But when I study, at least I will be able to help my family members and other patients,” she said.

There are now three major methods for cancer treatment: chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. However, some cancer cannot be surgically treated, such as blood cancer.

Thao said that immunotherapy is a good solution for cancer treatment. It is similar to ‘training’ immune cells and making them stronger to kill cancer cells.

She has been looking for materials and spending time on studying, while wanting to meet people with the same idea. 

Thao said an ordinary day begins with lessons at school. If she doesn’t have lessons, she stays at the dormitory to read documents. There is no fixed schedule for the afternoon. She goes to the library, or to the guitar club or fitness center.


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Le Ha

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