Google in Medicine, What is Next?

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google Inc. is stepping closer to developing a device to draw blood for medical testing without needles, Wired reported Monday morning. 

The Internet giant filed a patent application Dec. 3 on a gas-based system designed to draw blood from a fingertip to be used to test blood sugar levels. According to the patent application, the device works through a surge of pressurized gas to launch a “micro-particle” at a high rate of speed in order to pierce the skin and draw blood. Google said the device could operate automatically, or manually. Abstract images filed with the patent show the device as a traditional finger-tip device or as an item like a watch, which could suggest the company will continue to dive into the field of wearable medical devices. Google did not specify what application the device could be used for, although the company told The Verge that one possibility was for a glucose test, leading speculation that the device will be used to aid diabetes patients. 

In addition to its medical device forays, Google is also a leader in medical data collection. Google Genomics is a system that allows hospitals, research facilities and universities to store and share genomic data. In January, Google announced thousands of data points have already been uploaded onto the platform. Google has been making great strides in personalized medicine. In May, Jessica Mega, a prominent cardiologist at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women's Hospital, has left to head up the Baseline Study of Google X, the technology company’s life sciences division. The Baseline Study program is part of the precision medicine initiative to “understand what it means to be healthy, down to the molecular and cellular level,” Google said in a statement. 

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