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Google Scientists: Early Cancer Diagnosis With Nanoparticles

Google scientists are currently working on a technique of early diagnosis of diseases like cancer, whereby nanoparticles will be sent into the bloodstream through pills to adhere to cells and bloodstream substances to detect any sign of the onset of the diseases.


The earlier a disease is diagnosed, the better can it be managed; many life-threatening diseases are easier to tackle during their early stages of development. For instance, cancer becomes increasingly challenging to deal with the more it progresses throughout the body, but if treatment can begin at its onset, it is more likely to be successful. However, many obstacles hinder the early detection of the disease: the lack of sensitive devices and techniques is just one of the many reasons. A team of Google scientists have therefore taken it upon themselves to devise a methodology of providing for early cancer screening.

The group of researchers have made a wearing device that would display the results obtained by nanoparticles sent into the bloodsteam of a person via a pill with the aim of finding any sign of the disease. Once detected, early treatment can be done.

Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” said Andrew Conrad, head of the Life Sciences team at the Google X research lab, at a conference.

The action of the nanoparticles

The nanoparticles would travel in the blood, attaching to cells, proteins, and other molecules. For them to bind to the cellular objects, the scientists are working on coatings to help the adherence. The binding would serve as detection of any discrepancy in the functioning of the body systems.

Google has planned to license the technology to others rather than to collect the medical data itself.

For the purpose of the research, Google has recruited more than one hundred experts coming from different backgrounds and fields like astrophysicists, immunology, biology, oncology, cardiology and chemistry. The members of the Google life sciences team include experts in molecular imaging, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used to make diagnosis, and in other areas involving mechanisms of inflammation, malignant blood disorders and infectious disease.


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