The life sciences division of Google X laboratories is experimenting with nanoparticle technology that could help detect cancer, heart attacks and other deadly diseases.
The news website Independent.co.uk reports that Google is creating synthetic skin to test the new prototype. Dr. Andrew Conrad said the system is in the beginning stages of development, but could end up being able to detect cancer cells through the use of nanoparticles.
According to Google, nanoparticles are the future of medicine. The nanoparticles are one-thousandth the width of a red blood cell and are covered in anti-bodies or proteins to help fight the early stages of a disease. A sensor — most likely a wristband — would be worn by the patient to detect any findings, and that sensor would in turn issue a report to physicians.
The magnetism in the particles allows for doctors to pull information from them and help catch things like cancer before it spreads.
“We’re trying to change medicine from being episodic and reactive, like going to the doctor saying ‘my arm hurts,’ to being proactive and preventative,” Dr. Conrad told The Independent
Patients would ingest a pill containing customized nanoparticles that would target certain conditions. Google’s hope is that the pill would cause anything harmful to “light up” and be detected on the wristband.
The project is heavily based on studying the way light is emitted by human cells. Google scientists have constructed fake arms to observe how light passes through the skin.
Google X has been known for non-medical projects as well. Thus far they are credited with the development of Google Glass, glucose measuring contact lenses, the self-driving car and delivery drones.