Google seeks way to search bodies for disease

October 28, 2014
The Google logo is seen during a press announcement in New York, September 2, 2012

Google is exploring a way to search inside people's bodies for early signs of deadly illnesses such as cancer or heart disease.

A Life Sciences team at the special projects Google X Lab are experimenting with having "nanoparticles" hunt for signs of medical trouble in bloodstreams and then essentially report findings to sensors people could wear.

"This is still early-stage research, but we've done a number of promising experiments, so we're going to keep going," Google said in a description of the project made public Tuesday.

Imagined applications include a test for enzymes given off by arterial plaques that are about to rupture and cause a or stroke, or a way to watch for after surgery or chemo treatments.

Early detection is known to dramatically increase chances of successfully treating a number of life-threatening diseases.

Batches of specially crafted nanoparticles, each microscopic in size, could be swallowed in pills and then absorbed into bloodstreams where they would stick to targeted cells such as cancer.

Magnetic qualities designed into allow them to be drawn to worn devices and counted using non-invasive detection methods such as light or radio waves, according to Google.

If successful, the technology could "help physicians detect a disease that's starting to develop in the body," the California-based technology titan said.

Google said that it would license the technology to companies interested in using it for medically approved diagnostics.

Google Life Sciences team innovations include contact lenses that measure glucose levels in tears to allow people with diabetes to track blood sugar, and eating utensils that cancel out trembling hands caused by diseases such as Parkinsons.

Google also last year formed a company called Calico with a mission to address problems of health and aging by harnessing advanced technologies.

Explore further: Google's health startup forges venture with AbbVie

Related Stories

Google's health startup forges venture with AbbVie

September 3, 2014

Google's ambitious health startup is teaming up with biotechnology drugmaker AbbVie in a $500 million joint venture that will try to develop new ways to treat cancer and other diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Novartis to use Google technology for eye care

July 15, 2014

Swiss drug developer Novartis will team with technology giant Google to develop a "smart" contact lens that could improve some eye conditions or help diabetics manage their disease.

Google buys product design firm Gecko

August 22, 2014

Google on Friday confirmed that it bought Gecko Design to bolster its lab devoted to technology-advancing projects such as self-driving cars and Internet-linked Glass eyewear.

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

April 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact lenses with ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected

February 20, 2018

Studying data from Twitter, University of Illinois researchers found that less people tweet per capita from larger cities than in smaller ones, indicating an unexpected trend that has implications in understanding urban pace ...

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.