Curing cancer is the Holy Grail of modern medicine, and by that we mean researchers will try anything to get it. Anything.
So what happens when all of the top medical scientists focus their brain power and research cash on a single crusade? You get some of the most mind-blowing and downright bizarre tumor-killing methods imaginable. Like:
#7. Laser Blasting
Amazing fact number one: A man was strapped to a bed in France, had a three millimeter hole drilled in his head and laser beams were fired into his brain while he was still conscious. Amazing fact number two: he was not James Bond.
Surgeons at Pitie-Salpetriere have clearly decided that months of medication and treatments are for wimps, and have gone all Buck Rogers on tumors instead.
This super-cool laser (literally - the laser fiber optics are chilled so that they don't trigger fits, blood clots or set fire to your living brain) has now been stalled because the developers lack the three million dollars in funding needed to continue to the next stage, which, we assume, would involve striking a patient's heart with lightning, or pouring magic down his throat.
6 (tie) Blowing Up Gold
Apparently, there are some places you can't just administer direct laser death (though, since the previous guys proved that the brain isn't off limits, we can't imagine where that could be). And if you can't shove a precise fiber optic in there, lasers tend to effect you less like a patient and more like an Imperial Stormtrooper (complete with the implied falling down and death).
Unless you've been injected with gold.
Impervious to lasers and cancer.
In another plot clearly lifted from members off of MI6's Most-Wanted list, scientists at MIT have worked out that if you inject tiny gold rods into tumors you can blow them away. The micro-jewellery strongly absorbs infrared laser beams, which can be passed through the body and focused on the maBLINGnant growth. At which point all the things movies have taught you about lasers and flesh become true.
6 (tie) Diamond Patches
Also deserving mention in the "making useless shiny stuff actually useful" trend, scientists at Northwestern University, Chicago, are developing an artificial diamond patch which can release cancer-killing chemicals. These will be implanted into the sites of anti-tumor surgery, erecting giant chemical "And Stay Out!" signs which can prevent any fragments of the original tumor pulling a Voorhees and launching "Cancer II: The Relapsing."
We've been able to make artificial diamonds since the 50s, but the jewelry trade has survived by telling people that the natural stones are much better.
Because if there's anyone we can trust to tell us about natural diamond quality, it's the people who make millions of dollars selling them. But the new medical diamonds are manufactured by nanotechnology, which will eventually make diamonds so commonplace it'll be used as a building material. And while we're looking forward to seeing "De Beers Home Glazing Company," so far the nanodiamonds can't be hooked together into large structures. Still, curing cancer is a pretty good job for a prototype.
You end up with diamonds coated with drugs which can be shoved inside the body. Finally, a way to treat rappers with cancer.
#5. Tumor Terminator
Maryland engineers are building a hunting/killing machine that tracks down breast malignancies, perhaps by taking a photo of a tumor and writing "Sarah Connor" underneath it in marker. The robot is built to live inside Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) systems and will bring swift electric death to what ails you. Replacing the inefficient human model of "Detect tumor, months of tests, more months of treatment, try not to die" with more of a:
The thing literally springs out of the MRI, a metal tube that you're strapped down and inserted into, and starts cutting into you to get at the tumor. Thereby becoming simultaneously the best and worst thing ever to happen to the patient. As a surgical robot it's obviously waterproof, and to work inside the MRI the thing is also completely immune to magnetic fields.
It's like a giant robot coffin that we've made self-aware and armed with spinning blades.
So we better just hope the thing never decides to kill us because we'll have no way to stop it. But what are the chances of a soulless, implacable, logical cutting machine thinking "I must destroy cancer, and cancer lives in humans, so therefore..."