They’ve certainly been at the forefront of innovative technology in the last decade, what with Google Earth, Google Glass etc etc But now the tech giants are taking on cancer, with an early warning pill that you swallow which will then alert you if you have the disease.
How the swallowable early warning cancer smart pill works?
The pill works in combination with a wrist sensor and is based on the theory of magnets and nano-technology. The smart pill will be filled with these miniscule nano-particles that once swallowed will then enter your bloodstream. It is thought that these particles can search out cancerous cells and attach themselves to them.
The wearable wrist device has a magnet inside it, and it is this magnet that can attract the nano-particles and count them.
“Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system,” said Dr Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist and head of the Life Sciences team at Google X. “That’s our dream.
The premise behind the smart pill is that any subtle changes can be detected by the device and then doctors can act accordingly. The project is still being tested at present, and is being run by the company’s research unit – Google X. Google X is renowned for working on revolutionary ideas, the most well-known perhaps being the driver-less car.
Google X are already developing a smart contact lens, specifically designed to monitor the body’s glucose levels, and rely them back to a mobile device. The lenses is being developed with Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, using miniscule sensors and microchips that are fitted into the actual lens.
Earlier Cancer detection better than a cure
As for the smart pill, Google believes that earlier detection is perhaps better than searching for a cure:
A Google spokesman said: “Our mission is to help move health care from reactive to proactive; for far too long, it’s largely been “sickness care,” because we go to the doctor only once we have symptoms. We keep most complex systems (e.g. cars and airplanes) in shape with proactive, preventive care, so why should our bodies be any different?
“Our team combines expertise from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, electrical engineering, computer science, and more, and we are focused on developing new diagnostic tools for physicians — especially new smart devices that integrate easily into daily life and could help transform the detection, prevention, and management of disease.”
“Much of the improvement in cancer survival rates over the last 30 years is due to earlier detection, like skin cancer screening and Pap smears,” Google said. “Yet for many serious diseases, there still aren’t good enough diagnostics to help doctors catch them in their earliest stages, when they’re most treatable.”
Google researchers are concentrating on the chemical signals the cancerous cells give off as they start becoming diseased:
“We wondered: could continuous measurement of subtle changes in the chemistry of the blood be a way to detect a disease very early, when it’s most treatable?”
And the researchers are not stopping at cancer. They see this type of early detection applicable in other ailments:
“Although we’re still in the early stages of scientific exploration, we can imagine many different applications of this technology.”
“Maybe there could be a test for the enzymes given off by arterial plaques that are about to rupture and cause a heart attack or stroke. Perhaps someone could develop a diagnostic for post-surgery or post-chemo cancer patients – that’s a lot of anxious people right there.”
The testing has already started on the smart pill project, and Google have plans to license the technology to medical firms in order to develop the finished tests.
“It could take years to reveal the potential of this technology – nature is a formidable foe – but we hope it’s less than a decade, given what’s at stake.”