Google wins patent for wristband that could treat CANCER: Wearable would target unhealthy cells using bursts of energy
Patent details a wearable that could target substances in a wearer's blood.
This substances could be proteins linked with Parkinson's, or cancer cells.
It would then 'modify or destroy' targets by transmitting energy into blood.
This could include infrared signals, a radio-frequency or acoustic pulse.
Scientists in the life sciences division of Google X laboratories are using human skin in their research to develop the wristband.
Wristband could also work with pills that cause unhealthy cells to light up.
Google unveiled plans earlier this year for a cancer-detecting wristband that it was testing using moulds of human skin.
Now the firm has been awarded a patent for the technology that will 'automatically modify or destroy targets in the blood that have an adverse health effect'.
According to the files, the wearable could target these cells using an 'external energy source' such as ultrasound or radio frequencies.
'A number of scientific methods have been developed to examine physiological conditions of a person by detecting and measuring one or more analytes [chemicals] in a person's blood,' explained the Nanoparticle Phoresis patent.
'Analytes could...be indicative of a medical condition or health of the person' and could include 'enzymes, hormones, proteins, cells or other substances.'
Google continued that its wearable would target any substances or objects that, when present in the blood, may affect the health of wearer by transmitting energy into the vessels.
This could include infrared signals, a radio-frequency or acoustic pulse, or a magnetic field.
The energy used would depend on what the band is targeting, but it would be designed to alter the chemical composition of the analyte.
'In one relevant example, certain proteins have been implicated as a partial cause of Parkinson's disease; the development of Parkinson's disease may be prevented or retarded by providing particles functionalized with a bioreceptor that will selectively bind to this target' continued the files.
'These bound particles may then be used, in combination with a wearable device as described above, to modify or destroy the target protein.
'As a further example, the target could be cancer cells; by selectively targeting and then modifying or destroying the cancer cells, the spread of cancer may be diminished.'
In January, Andrew Conrad, head of Google Life Sciences unveiled plans for a wristband which would work with nanoparticles that circulate around the body looking for cells.
After travelling around the body, these nanoparticles would then be collected, using a magnet, to reveal what cells they encountered.
The nanoparticles would cause the cancer cells to light up, for example, allowing the wristband to record whether there are dangerous cells in the body.
The system relies on light emitted from the cells as a result of the nanoparticles, so scientists must understand how light passes through skin. So Google started making skin.
To assist with their research, the scientists made moulds of human arms using both synthetic and real human skin from donors.
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.
Mr 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,' Mr Conrad continued.
He said 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.'