We've already seen nanoparticles put to use to help diagnose cancer (in mice
), and it now looks like researchers have found another, potentially bigger use for 'em -- namely, to blast those cancer cells away altogether. That's apparently possible by mixing two so-called nanothermite composites that act as a fuel and an oxidizer, which in turn generate combustion waves that can hit velocities ranging from 1,500 to 2,300 meters per second (or somewhere in the neighborhood of Mach 3). Being on the nano-scale, however, the researchers say the explosives can be used safely within the human body and, indeed, they say they have 99% success rate in tests on animal tissue. If all goes as planned (a relatively big "if"), the researchers say the technology could be ready for use in two to five years.