London, November 11 : An Indian-origin researcher in America says that tube-like carbon nano-particles can be used to explode cancer.
Balaji Panchapakesan at the University of Delaware, Newark, proposes the idea of filling carbon nanotubes with water before injecting them into a tumour.
He says that zapping the cancerous area with laser light at a later stage will cause the water to boil, and the tremendous pressure by the heating will trigger the "nanobombs" to burst apart, thereby killing nearby cells.
He adds that choosing the correct wavelength and intensity of the laser light can help ensure that only the "nanobombs" absorb significant amounts of energy, and that they explode well before other tissue is damaged.
Panchapakesan says that he has already used this approach to kill BT474 cells, which originate from a breast tumour, reports New Scientist magazine.
He says that it is possible to program exploding nanotubes to target tumours by labelling them with an antibody specific to the cancer cell receptors.
According to him, adding a chemotherapy drug to the water could wipe out any cells that survive or escape a blast.
Given the minimal invasiveness of such a technique, Panchapakesan says that it can make for fast recovery times and fewer side effects.