Google’s semi-secret research facility known as Google X, also stylized as Google[x], is currently working on the development of tiny magnetic particles which could be used to detect cancer, amongst other health woes, by entering a patient’s bloodstream.
Once in the bloodstream, Andrew Conrad, head of Google-X’s Life Sciences Team, indicated on Tuesday to the WSJ.D Live conference that the nanoparticles could then be directed towards different parts of the body through the application of wearable magnetic devices attached to the skin. The devices would have the ability to count the particles in addition to compiling information regarding potential medical conditions that had been detected. At the WSJ.D Live conference, Andrew stated:
Nanoparticles are the nexus between biology and engineering. We can make these nanoparticles behave in ways that we want them to do.
While the work is still at an early stage, according to a report on BBC’s website, the aim of the new technology is to diagnose not only cancers, but impending heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases. And to do so at an earlier stage than what is currently possible. As many cancers, such as pancreatic cancer, are only detectable by current medical technology once they have become untreatable and fatal, Google’s new nanotechnology could very well save lives.
With a size of less than one-thousandth the size of a red blood cell, the nanoparticles are truly nano, as in very small or minute. Nano is also short for nanotechnology, the brand of technology fathered by physicist Richard Feynman which deals with the dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers.
These tiny particles being developed by Google may have the ability to detect arterial plaque, high sodium levels, and potentially early signs of disease, according to Mr. Conrad. He went on to iterate that Google would license the technology to other companies, however, they would not be responsible for managing the information collected through monitoring the nanoparticles.
The new technology would come in the form of a wristband which would be used to carry out non-invasive blood tests. The disease detecting nanoparticles would enter the bloodstream via pill, which the patient would swallow.
For those unaware of Google X’s contributions to society, thus far, they have developed Google Glass, portable and wearable augmented reality glasses. They’re also focused on the development of driverless cars, bringing Internet access to remote locations via a network of balloons, and the list goes on.
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