Scientists say they have developed an anti-cancer 'bomb' which has a similar behavior to a Trojan horse.
The bomb is able to penetrate deep into tumors where it explodes and destroys cancerous cells without harming healthy ones.
The molecular size bomb was devised by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who have already tested it in mice with skin or lung cancer.
The researchers found that mice given the treatment lived more than three times longer than untreated rodents, and believe it could have the same effect in humans.
Professor Ram Sasisekharan, of MIT's Biological Engineering Division, says they are hopeful and optimistic, that as they translate the process into humans, the results will equate with those they have seen in animals.
The use of nanotechnology manipulates the smart bomb's materials on a molecular or atomic scale, to deliver chemotherapy drugs to destroy the tumor, and anti-angiogenesis agents to block its blood supply.
The bomb, which is like a balloon within a balloon, is injected into the bloodstream and it travels to the tumor burrowing deep inside.
At this point the outer membrane disintegrates and releases an anti-angiogenesis drug so the blood vessels feeding the tumor collapse.
The drug-packed nanocell is trapped inside the tumor, and explodes unleashing the chemotherapy drug to kill the cancerous cells.
In the process no healthy cells are destroyed, so debilitating side effects such as hair loss, vomiting, nausea and weight loss are eliminated.
Sasisekharan says by killing the supply lines, the tumor cells cannot escape and spread, and the leaching of the chemotherapy agents to the healthy cells is limited.