Stem cell technology holds a key, although arguably not an exclusive position, in the future of healthcare. Alongside two other candidates worthy of this mantle – personalized cancer medicine and vaccine development – all three healthcare innovations are explored primarily from a scientific and also an ethics perspective. This insightful and informative essay secured its 12-year old author a place on Newcastle Upon Tyne's city universities’ ‘Leading Edge’ science programme in January 2012. The programme forges links between local academics and enthusiastic youngsters aged 12–14 years, selected from 13 participating schools. The aim is to motivate and inspire children to consider careers in science. Supported by their science teacher Jonny Instone, Gosforth Central Middle School's team of six, including the author, worked with Dr Ben Horrocks from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne's Chemical Nanosciences Laboratories in the School of Chemistry. Their four-month nanotechnology project focused on the quantum dot and insights into its clinical applications. Project presentations took place at the city's ‘Centre for Life’ in July 2012.