The particles would remain in the blood and report back continuously on what they find over time, said Andrew Conrad, head of life sciences at Google X, while a wearable sensor could track the particles by following their magnetic fields and collecting data on their movement through the body.
The goal is to get a fuller picture of the patient's health than the snapshot that's obtained when a doctor draws a single sample of blood for tests that aren't comprehensive enough to spot the early stages of many forms of cancer.
"We want to make it simple and automatic and not invasive," Conrad
Like Google is doing in the contact lens project, the company is here looking for ways to proactively monitor health and prevent disease, rather than wait to diagnose problems, he
Data from the sensor could be uploaded or stored on the Internet until it can be interpreted by a doctor, he
That could raise questions about privacy or the security of patient data.
But when asked if Google
could use the information for commercial purposes, Conrad
said, "We have no interest in that."
described the project during an appearance at a tech industry conference organized by the Wall Street Journal
He said the team working on the nanoparticle project includes a cancer specialist and other doctors, as well as electrical and mechanical engineers and an astrophysicist who has been advising on how to track the particles through the body.
is looking for partners who would license the technology and bring products to market.
"Our partners would take care of all that stuff.
We're the inventors and creators of the technology," Conrad