Google is in the early stages of creating tiny, magnetic nanoparticles that will be able to search the human body for cancer and other diseases, The Wall Street Journal’s Alistair Barr and Ron Winslow report.
Google’s goal is “an early heads-up” on disease to ultimately facilitate more effective treatment.
Google’s particles will be less than 1/000 the width of a red blood cell and would attach themselves to specific cells, proteins, and other molecules inside the body. For example, Google could coat its nanoparticles with an antibody that would recognise and attach to a protein on the surface of a tumour cell.
Google is working on a wearable device that would attract and count the particles. In that way, the system would be used for testing and monitoring health, although Google admits that it still needs to better understand what constitutes as a healthy level of disease-carrying molecules in the blood and what would be a cause for a concern.
Google would likely let people consume its nanoparticles through a pill, but is reportedly at least five to seven years away from a product that would be approved by doctors.
“Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” Andrew Conrad, head of the Life Sciences team at Google X, said at The Wall Street Journal’s “WSJD Live” conference. “That’s our dream.”
More to come…