Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

Cell processes

Basel team finds key to stopping tumour growth

Researchers from the Swiss university of Basel have discovered that tumours are able to adapt to a lack of oxygen, explaining why they keep growing even after initially successful treatment.

A research team led by the university’s Gerhard Christofori writes in the journal “Cell Reports” that tumours are able to switch from an oxygen-based energy source to one not reliant on oxygen, rendering ineffective medications meant to cut off the supply. 

Cancer cells respond to signals triggering the growth of blood vessels, which supply the tumour with oxygen and nutrients. Certain medications block this process and can stop the growth of tumours for a while. However, they eventually grow resistant and continue to grow despite the treatment. 

The cellular process observed by the researchers – known as glycolysis -  releases lactic acid which is delivered to those tumour cells that still have enough oxygen. They, in turn, can use the lactic acid and oxygen to produce energy and continue to grow. 

The discovery could lead to new cancer treatments which not only block the oxygen supply to tumours but also the glycolysis process. The researchers were able to prove in the lab that tumour growth can be stopped using such a therapy.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.