SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Google X, the experimental wing of the tech conglomerate, is trying to build a pill that can detect cancer in the disease's earliest stages.
Researchers with the company say the pill would release nanoparticles into a patient's bloodstream; the magnetized particles would tour the body seeking out cancer cells to bind to. A wearable monitor would attract and count the particles, pulling information as to what the particles had detected.
The technology could eventually be used to execute a range of diagnostic tests as well as deliver drug therapies to specific targets.
"Every test you ever go to the doctor for will be done through this system," Andrew Conrad, a lead researcher at the Google X lab, told audience members of The Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference. "That is our dream."
Though the specifics of Google's attempt is unique, the search engine giant isn't the first to look for a shortcut to detecting the early accumulation of cancer cells. Cornell researchers were successful in highlighting tumors using silica-organic hybrid particles and infrared light. Another study featured cancer-seeking particles whose results could be detected using a litmus-paper-like test strip.
It all suggests cancer-detecting technology isn't too far away from wider adoption in the medical field.
"This has been very encouraging," Uli Wiesner, a professor at Cornell, said in a recent press release -- speaking of his research team's most recent results. "It's the first case we're aware of in which the FDA has approved an inorganic optical nanoparticle as an [investigation new drug] for a clinical trial."