It might seem like it’s too good to be true, but what Google is doing is far from science fiction. They’re working on developing a nano-pill that can detect cancer, as well as other diseases and illnesses. The nano-pill is still being worked on, but the folks at Google are confident that they have the knowledge and capability they need to make their newest idea a reality.
How does it work?
The nano-pill works by releasing nano particles into the body that are drawn to cancer cells like a magnet. The particles latch on and any information that’s gathered about the cancer cells is sent to a sensor. The best part is that people can begin to get treatments before they would normally have them under traditional detection methods.
According to a recent article on Wired.com, it’s relatively easy for academic researchers to pinpoint what might work best for such a project, but it takes a team of qualified engineers, scientists and technicians to design the hardware for such a product. That’s where Google comes in, and they’ve brought their best team members to the table.
Of course, the challenge is going to be in the clinical trials. Some trials have begun on artificial human limbs, but there is still much research to be done before the nano pill is ready to take the next step. It might be a few years before it hits the market.
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Since early diagnosis is key to treating cancer and other diseases, mega-corp Google is working on developing technology that will aid in the early diagnosis of cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases, much earlier than is currently possible.
Breakthroughs in nano-technology are hoped to lead the way
Google’s plan is to combine disease-detecting nanoparticles, swallowed via pill, with a wristband that will perform non-invasive blood tests. The goal is for the nanoparticles to identify and match markers for different conditions, then travel back to the wristband to communicate these slight changes in a person’s biochemistry that indicate the early symptoms of disease.
A step ahead
Cancerous and healthy tissues are decidedly distinct, and if Google’s technology is able to identify the unique traces of these unhealthy tissues in the blood before physical symptoms appear, diagnosis can be made when cancer is still preventable or treatable.
The product will be developed by the search company’s semi-secret innovation lab, Google X, and led by Dr. Andrew Conrad, molecular biologist and inventor of a now widely used inexpensive HIV test.
Because of the increase in anxiety the identification of these markers could create, Dr. Conrad has emphasized the need for rigorous testing before the product’s release and widespread use to prevent unnecessary worry – or unnecessary treatment. Once released, however, this technology is expected to be a revolutionary and effective weapon in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
Google Ventures has recently made a large investment into Flatiron Health Inc., a medical software company whose cancer patient data is used to help doctors make cancer treatment decisions. The $100-plus million investment reportedly enabled the company to purchase another software firm, Altos Solutions, which compiles oncology data and whose electronic medical records are cloud-based.
A plethora of alternative cancer treatment information – soon to be accessible via the cloud.
Flatiron’s software compiles a wide array of data, including clinical and genomic data, information on patient outcomes, notes from doctors, billing, and more for the use of oncologists. Compiled with Altos’ treatment data and cloud accessibility, this information will give doctors wider access to clinical trial information including past cancer treatments and outcomes which would have otherwise been difficult to access.
An investment in hope…
Bill Maris, managing partner with Google Ventures, stated they typically don’t make investments of this size unless they really believe in the team, the product, and the good it can do for the world. The acquisition of Altos by Flatiron is very complementary, offering a significant step forward in cancer care.
Google Ventures also investing in other medical data software companies.
Other Google Venture investments include DNAnexus, Inc., who is building the world’s first searchable archive of DNA information, as well as Foundation Medicine, with its tumor analyzing software, and Predilytics Inc., which tracks hospital discharges and re-admissions.
This combination of healthcare and internet technology offers an elegant solution for patient care, and with the help of Google Ventures, a clearer view of cancer patient needs and treatment options appears to be on the horizon.
Air pollution in China has reached alarming levels. Recent near-zero visibility in Beijing forced China to issue a red alert that curtailed vehicle use and shut down factories, according to a CNN report. Not surprisingly, Beijing officials have reported a more than 63% rise in lung cancer over the past decade, according to Medical Daily. While cigarette smoking certainly plays a role, experts say chronic air pollution is becoming a major risk factor for lung cancer and a likely cause of increasing lung cancer rates among non-smokers. Lung cancer is now the No. 1 cancer killer in China.
“There are lots of carcinogens emitted with industrial pollution,” C. Arden Pope of Brigham Young University told National Geographic. “Our respiratory systems filter out the relatively large particles from air pollution … The tiny ones come nearly entirely from burning things – coal, gasoline and diesel. Those tiny combustion particles are small enough to penetrate the lungs, and they’re made up of all sorts of nasty particles.”
Following 9/11, clouds of airborne particulate were blamed for the sharp spike in cancer cases, including lung cancer, among first responders and people who lived or worked near the site of the World Trade Towers.
Interestingly, airborne pollution from cigarette smoke or industrial pollutants doesn’t pose the only lung cancer risk. High levels of arsenic in drinking water are a major risk factor for a form of lung cancer that appears to be linked to the tumor microenvironment. Issels’ non-toxic cancer vaccines are unique in that they attack not only the cancer tumor but the surrounding tumor microenvironment. Visit our website for more information.