Google developing nanoparticles to detect cancer

October 29, 2014 03:57 pm | Updated May 23, 2016 06:50 pm IST - London

Google has hired more than 100 experts for the nanotechnology project.

Google has hired more than 100 experts for the nanotechnology project.

Google X, the internet giant’s research unit, is reportedly working on a technology project that combines disease-detecting nanoparticles, which would enter a patient’s bloodstream via a swallowed pill, with a wrist-worn sensor.

The technology aims to constantly monitor the blood for the unique traces of cancer, allowing diagnosis long before any physical symptoms appear.

“What we are trying to do is change medicine from reactive and transactional to proactive and preventative,” said Dr. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist who is leading the diagnostic project.

“Nanoparticles give you the ability to explore the body at a molecular and cellular level,” Dr. Conrad said.

These nanoparticles are intended to match markers for different conditions. They could be tailored to stick to a cancerous cell or a fragment of cancerous DNA. They could also find evidence of fatty plaques about to break free from the lining of blood vessels. These can cause a heart attack or stroke if they stop the flow of blood.

“You can recall those nanoparticles to a single location - because they are magnetic - and that location is the superficial vasculature of the wrist, [where] you can ask them what they saw,” said Dr. Conrad.

The tech company will also create a wristband that would take readings of the nanoparticles via light and radio waves one or more times a day.

Google has hired more than 100 experts for the nanotechnology project from disciplines including astrophysicists, immunology, biology, oncology, cardiology and chemistry.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.