Google Takes A Shot At Cancer With New Digital Pill

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) may not only provide help in searching for more medical information on various illnesses, but its latest moon-shot endeavor aims to detect life-threatening diseases like cancer and heart attacks before they materialize, a company official announced Tuesday.

Known as the “Nanoparticle Platform,” Google is developing a new technology in the form of a pill and wearable device pair, that when in effect, could identify certain health conditions within a person’s body, said Andrew Conrad, head of life sciences for the company’s Google X research lab, during the Wall Street Journal Digital conference in Laguna Beach, Calif. on Tuesday, according to various reports.

To make it work, Google is fashioning nanoparticles that combine a magnetic material with antibodies or proteins that can attach to and detect other molecules inside the body, reported Wired.

The central idea is that patients will swallow a pill containing these particles, which would then enter their bloodstream and attempt to identify molecules that would indicate certain health issues. A wearable device working in conjunction with the technology could then use the nanoparticles’ magnetic cores to gather them back together and read what they found.

The pill takes it to the next level of what makers of digital pills have set out to do by breaking the technology down to the nano level—a scale that is about one billionth of a meter in width.

“Because the core of these particles is magnetic, you can call them somewhere,” Conrad said in the Wired report. “These little particles go out and mingle with the people, we call them back to one place, and we ask them: ‘Hey, what did you see? Did you find cancer? Did you see something that looks like a fragile plaque for a heart attack? Did you see too much sodium?’”

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