Scientists have revealed that low-intensity electromagnetic fields may be used in treating cancerous tumors.
In clinical trials patients were given a spoon-like antenna and told to hold in their mouths, which then delivered the magnetic fields to their bodies.
A small number who were treated three times a week showed significant improvements. Some of the tumours shrank and others stopped growing, while healthy cells in the surrounding tissue were unaffected.
The group of scientists from Switzerland, France, Brazil and the U.S found that low-level electromagnetic fields at precise frequencies, ranging from 0.1Hz to 114kHz, halted the cancer growth in a small number of patients.
Different types of cancer responded differently to different frequencies.
The exact reasoning for the process was not revealed but it is though that low-level electromagnetic fields interfere with the activity of genes in cancer cells.
In certain cases it affected the cancers ability to grow and in some cases the tumours began to shrink while others stopped growing.
But the scientists behind it said the discovery was still in its early stages and would need further research in the coming years.
Professor Boris Pasche of the University of Alabama, Brimingham, said the treatment could be tolerated for long periods of time and used in conjunction with other therapies.
Pasche said that he had received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to carry out trials on large groups of cancer patients and was currently in discussion with countries across the world to try and get funding for future research.
The result of the study was reported in the British Journal of Cancer.