It sounds too good to be true, yet a major breakthrough for cancer could see the disease be treated with sound instead of chemotherapy.
Not only is this remarkable that something as abstract as sound can hold such power, but it could mean the end of aggressive chemo or radiation that is invasive and toxic on the body.
It would also mean patients using the technology would keep their hair as they recover.
It’s all thanks to a man named Anthony Holland, the former Associate Professor and Director of Music Technology at Skidmore College in New York, who masterminded the research that discovered soundwaves can kill cancer cells.
The composer said he became interested in the marriage of acoustics and physics early on his career, saying: “Years ago I read a book about a frequency machine that was capable of destroying microorganisms if it was tuned to just the right frequency.”
He also explained how he learned to use microscopes and to grow bacteria (and later cancer cells) in an incubator, before gathering the necessary electronic components to build a frequency machine. Together, these skills led to his cutting-edge evidence.
Holland said: “I began to try different frequencies, and at first nothing happened. Then I tried putting more than one frequency into the organism simultaneously.
“If I added one additional frequency, in a special relationship to the first frequency, I’d be creating more power and have a better chance at landing on the frequency needed to change the organism.
“When I added the eleventh harmonic, I looked through the microscope and discovered that the microorganism had shattered.”
Holland said it reminded him of how a crystal glass shatters when a soprano hits just the right note.
He later spoke about his findings in a TEDx talk, where he discussed that cancer cells and other microorganisms have a structure similar to that of liquid crystal.
You might not know it, but liquid crystal is everywhere – on laptop computers, TV screens, clocks and navigation systems – and it allows us to live in a digital age.
The technology works by blocking light, meaning when you watch TV on an LCD screen, electronic signals are being sent to change the colour and shape of the crystals.
Similarly, by sending electronic signals to cancer cells through a process called Oscillating Pulsed Electric Fields, Holland states he is able to get them to change their shape as well.
While his studies have been demonstrated in the laboratory with cells in petri dishes, they remain to be introduced into mainstream.
We can only hope this treatment is introduced sooner rather than later.