Researchers have been investigating ways to use nanotechnology to kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. This technique works by inserting carbon nanotubules into cancer cells. They are then exposed to near-infra red light from a laser, killing the cancer cell.
Dr Dai said: "It's actually quite simple and amazing. We're using an intrinsic property of nanotubes to develop a weapon that kills cancer."
The next step was to find a way to introduce the nantubules into cancer cells, but not healthy cells. The researchers did this by taking advantage of the fact that, unlike normal cells, the surface of cancer cells is covered with receptors for a vitamin known as folate..