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Technology 01 Nov 2014

Google working on technology to detect cancer, heart attack at early stage

The R&D team of search engine giant Google is working on a technology that combines disease-detecting nanoparticles, which would enter a patient's bloodstream via a swallowed pill, with a wrist-worn sensor.

Moving beyond its search engine heritage, Google is exploring a way to detect deadly illnesses like cancer and heart diseases in the human body at much early stage than its present possibilities. The company has lent its R&D prowess to identify slight changes in the human body that could detect cancer and heart diseases at its early stage.

According to a leading daily newspaper – The Times of India, the special projects is being handled by a Life Sciences team at the Google X Lab. The team is 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 on Tuesday.”

Batches of specially crafted nanoparticles, each in microscopic 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 nanoparticles allow them to be drawn to worn devices and counted using non-invasive detection methods such as light or radio waves, said Google.

The company also said that it would license the technology to big companies interested in using it for medically approved diagnostics.

Experts believe that early detection of life-threatening diseases will lead to a dramatic increase in the chances of successfully treating them, which will save many lives.

With an aim to address major health issues, Google has formed a company called Calico last year, by harnessing advanced technologies.


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