By: Mail Online Reporter
Google is making a wristband that detects cancer cells, and using human skin to do it.
Scientists in the life sciences division of Google X laboratories are working on a proactive, preventative approach to one of the world’s deadliest diseases, according to The Independent.
The wristband would work in tandem with a pill that would send nanoparticles through the body to latch on to markers of different conditions and diseases including cancer, Andrew Conrad, head of Google Life Sciences, told The Atlantic.
‘We have (the nanoparticles) circulate around your whole body looking for those cells and we collect them using a magnet and basically ask them what they saw,’ Conrad said.
The nanoparticles would cause the cancer cells to light up, allowing the wristband to record whether there are dangerous cells in the body, Conrad explained.
The system relies on light emitted from the cells as a result of the nanoparticles, so scientists must understand how light passes through skin, according to the Independent.
So Google started making skin.
To assist with their research, the scientists have made molds of human arms using both synthetic and real human skin from donors.
While using skin in the research, scientists have to account for people of different ethnicity, resulting in different skin pigmentation, and thickness of skin, The Atlantic reports.
As the wearable is still in the early stages of development, Google X is working to determine what defines a ‘healthy’ person.
They are monitoring 175 healthy volunteers to frequently collect physiological information.
Conrad admitted that people may find it ‘weird’ having particles constantly tracking the cells in their body.
‘It’s way weirder to have cancer cells floating through your body that are constantly trying to kill you,’ Conrad continued.
Conrad told the Atlantic that the Google X team is trying to change medicine from being episodic and reactive to being proactive and preventive.
‘We’re making good progress but the journey is long and hard, he said. ‘So I think we will get there and I hope it’s years, not decades.’
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.