Google’s Next Project: Heart Attack and Cancer Detector

We learn the new aim of the search engine giant; Google’s wants to diagnose impending heart attacks and strokes, cancer and a variety of other diseases at a very early stage, more than its possible currently. Right now, the company is working on a technology, which can combine nanoparticles that are disease detecting with a sensor that’s worn on the wrist. These nanoparticles would enter the bloodstream of a patient through a swallowed pill. The purpose is the identification of slight changes in the biochemistry of the person, which could be used as an early warning system. However, the development process is still in its early stages as yet.

The key to treating and eliminating any disease is early diagnosis. There are numerous cancers such as pancreatic cancer, which is detected only after it has become fatal and untreatable. There is a huge difference between healthy and cancerous tissues. It is the ambition of the search engine giant to monitor the blood constantly for detecting any unique traces leading to cancer. This would allow diagnosis of the disease long before the patients start exhibiting any physical symptoms. The research unit of the search company, Google X, is conducting this particular project.

This unit was created for conducting investigations regarding innovations that could be potentially revolutionary. This project is another move of the company into the medical sector after the company released details of contact lenses that could measure glucose levels in diabetic patients. Furthermore, the company had also previously acquired a startup, which created a spoon for counteracting the tremors that are a part of Parkinson’s disease. Google has also made an investment in an anti-aging research firm, Calico and manufacturer of personal genetics testing kits, 23andMe.

Dr. Andrew Conrad is leading the diagnostic project and he is a molecular biologist renowned for his development of a cheap test for HIV, which is widely used these days. He said in an interview that rather than having reactive medicine, they are attempting to become proactive and develop preventative medicine. He said that nanoparticles allow doctors to do an exploration of the body at a cellular and molecular level. A suite of nanoparticles is being designed by Google to make different markers for different conditions. They could be customized to stick to a fragment of cancerous DNA or cancerous cell. They could also be used for finding evidence of fatty plaque that are about to break off the lining of blood vessels.

If these plaques stop the flow of blood, they could cause a heart stroke or attack. Another set of nanoparticles would be for monitoring the chemicals in the blood. Kidney disease occurs because of high potassium levels and it is Google’s aim to make porous nanoparticles that will change color when potassium passes through. The nanoparticles would be recalled to a single location as they are magnetic. This location would be the wrist where the sensor is worn and can be used for checking what was seen by the nanoparticles.

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