autophagy

The fight against cancer has been one tough war. Perhaps the most difficult battle has been finding drugs that selectively kill cancer cells while sparing the rest. A research group at Washington University Medical School has come up with a very clever approach — starving the cancer cells. 
Japanese scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi was honored for discovering autophagy, which is a type of programmed cell death. Some cells in multicellular organisms, like animals and plants, choose to self-destruct for the greater benefit of the organism. This can occur for a variety of reasons.