Google working on wristband that could detect cancer in a person's blood

Google is working on wristband that could detect cancer cells the moment they appear in a person's bloodstream.


Google is working on wristband that could detect cancer cells the moment they appear in a person's bloodstream, according to an exclusive video report by The Altantic.

In the video, Andrew Conrad, head of Google Life Sciences (this is also part of Google  X laboratories where secret, futuristic projects are undertaken by the company) spoke to the magazine about how the wristband will work along with a pill that will send nanoparticles through the body to identify signs of different conditions and diseases

"Imagine you swallow pill. And that pill has small things called nanoparticles in it. Nanoparticles are tiny particles that fit inside blood cells but they are decorated with markers that attach themselves to cancer cells. We then have them circulate the whole body and then we collect them in your arm with a magnet and we ask them what they (nanoparticles) saw," says Conrad in the interview.

The idea is to make the cancer cells light up and then the wristband can record it.

In order to understand the system better, Google even went ahead and made its own human-skinned arms, which have both synthetic and real human skin from donors. Getting the skin wasn't enough as Google has to keep in account different skin tones, ethnicities, skin thickness, etc. Conrad added, "It's important for us to understand how these nano-particles perform with people with very different characteristics."

Conrad told the Atlantic that the idea is still one in progress, although he's hoping to get this successfully going in some years and not decades.  'We're making good progress but the journey is long and hard."

Cancer isn't the only disease that Google is trying to find a cure for. Recently Novartis announced a tie-up with Google and said that Novartis' eye care division Alcon will be licensing the search giant’s much-anticipated “smart lens” technology for all ocular medical uses.

Google's Smart Contact Lens can help diabetics keep a closer eye on insulin levels and these have been in development for quite some time. Alcon, the company’s eye-care subsidiary, will develop and commercialise Google’s “smart lens” technology. The lenses are equipped with tiny chips and an antenna to calculate blood levels.

Now with the report about the cancer wrist-band, it is evident that Google's Life Science division is doing some very interesting and potentially ground-breaking work.


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