Cells that consume parts of themselves can stop this process autonomously as well. This was discovered by NWO researcher Judith Klumperman's group, in collaboration with colleagues from the National Institute of Health in Washington. The self-cannibalism is part of the normal digestive process of the cell, but also a survival mechanism in times of famine. This is what makes it difficult for doctors to 'starve out' cancer cells, for instance. The research results were published on 6 June in Nature.