The researchers' computer simulations suggest that hitting a single gold or platinum atom with a small dose of X-rays at a narrow range of frequencies produces a flood of more than 20 low-energy electrons.
These ejected electrons can kill cancer kills, shredding their DNA, researchers said. So doctors could embed many heavy-metal nanoparticles inside and around tumors, then hit them with a tailored shot of radiation.
The resulting electron shower could obliterate a tumor. And the process would greatly reduce a patient's radiation exposure compared to most current radiation treatment methods, researchers said.