Scientists conducting pre-clinical trials have shown that tiny nanotubes, heated up with radio waves, can destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells relatively unharmed. The tests, performed in rabbits, showed that the radio-nanotube technique fries the cancer completely, and without side effects.

The next trick, according to the group, is figuring out how to deliver those nanotubes to the right spot. They need to ensure that they attach to tumor cells, and not the healthy kind. The scientists suggest that clinical trials of the technique, a continuation of work begun by nanotech pioneer Richard Smalley before his 2005 death, are at least three years away.—Gregory Mone