Professor David Mole

How cancer cells cope with a lack of oxygen

At the University of Oxford, Professor David Mole is studying the most common type of kidney cancer, called clear cell renal carcinoma. In particular, his research group is interested in how the cancer responds to a lack of oxygen, known as hypoxia.

Tumours are packed with cells, meaning that blood and therefore oxygen can’t reach some areas, causing them to become hypoxic. When this happens, molecules called ‘hypoxia inducible factors’ are triggered which then switch on certain genetic pathways.

This system is frequently faulty in clear cell renal carcinoma, so Professor Mole wants to understand more about the role of these pathways in disease development. He’s also looking into which parts of this system can encourage tumour development, and which help to suppress it.

Through this important work, Professor Mole will not only further scientists’ overall understanding of hypoxia in cancer, but also potentially help improve treatment by identifying possible therapeutic pathways that could be targeted with drugs. Ultimately, that could help make treatments for this type of cancer more personal. 


Kidney cancer
Renal cell cancer
Cancer biology

Henry Wellcome Building for Molecular Physiology, Oxford