The various available transfection methods suffer from low efficiency, lack of specificity for a particular cell type, and a tendency to kill many of the target cells. Bildirici et al. offer a solution in the 18 May Nature, using antibody-coated beads (Nature 2000, 405:298). DNA enters the cells after agitation of a bead-cell mixture tears holes in the cell membrane. Transfection efficiency ranges from 40 to 80% with less than 20% cell killing, and the DNA is targeted to cells with the relevant cell surface marker. This targeting will be particularly important for ex vivo gene therapy applications.