Breakthrough in cancer treatment: Molecular jackhammers

Jan 15, 2024

Molecular jackhammers activate vibronic modes in single molecules, efficiently destroying cancer cells by mechanically disassembling their membranes, offering a potential alternative to traditional cancer therapies with fewer side effects.

December 2023 – Nature Chemistry


Key takeaways


  • Innovative cancer treatment: The use of molecular jackhammers represents a breakthrough in cancer therapy. Unlike traditional methods, these molecules activate specific vibronic modes to target cancer cells, offering a more precise and potentially more effective treatment strategy
  • Mechanical cell disassembly: This unique approach involves the mechanical breakdown of cancer cell membranes. By inducing necrotic cell death through physical disruption, it differs significantly from the biochemical methods used in conventional cancer treatments, potentially leading to new avenues in cancer research
  • Reduced side effects: Traditional cancer treatments often come with significant side effects due to their non-specific nature. The targeted action of molecular jackhammers suggests a lower risk of damaging healthy cells, leading to fewer side effects and a better quality of life for patients


Effective and less harmful cancer treatments are crucial for enhancing longevity, especially in ageing populations. By potentially offering a safer and more targeted approach to eradicating cancer cells, molecular jackhammers could play a significant role in extending healthy life spans and improving the overall health of elderly patients.


Read the article at: Ayala-Orozco, C., et al. Molecular jackhammers eradicate cancer cells by vibronic-driven action. Nat. Chem. (2023).