Friday, October 12, 2012

Analogy for Cancer as a Systemic Disease

Lets think of a multi-cellular organism (i.e. humans) as a small city, a society, of individual cell citizens. When the citizens of a society feel a strong sense of unity and like to interact with one another, the chance of someone becoming malicious is small. Any malicious person is likely to get caught because the members of the society have a high rate of interaction; members who interact in an unhealthy way would be identified quickly. On the contrary, in a system where individuals are isolated, it is quite easy for a malicious individual to remain hidden and carry out their plans.

Carrying over the analogy to the human body, the "malicious citizen" is the cancerous cell. It is not an invader but a member of the system. Now the question is: what creates a sense of "unity", or high level of interaction, in a multicellular system? This question is difficult to answer even for a human society - what creates a sense of unity in a society? The answer might lie in vague concepts such as culture, language, values, or beliefs. These are abstract concepts. Concepts such as culture cannot be written into books; they evolve; they form spontaneously and are not designed by humans.

So the task is to identify what constitutes the "culture" of a multicellular organism. My imagination tells me that the answer might lies with wave-like patterns within the body - heartbeat, breathing, hormone cycles - that affect almost all the cells in the body. The fact that these phenomena are oscillations allows cells to synchronize, or resonate, with those patterns. Multiple waves can combine to form more interesting patterns. Cells resonating with this pattern might be in similar physiological states, and therefore, those cells might interact with one another more. More interaction creates a healthier "society".

If the above hypothesis is true, the way to heal a large number of illnesses lies in identifying patterns of global phenomena such as breath, blood flow, hormone cycles, and especially how they interact with one another to form more information-rich wave pattern(s). Then, we can identify how various cells change states in response to this global pattern.

In some sense, malicious members of a society are like indicators of the society's overall health. In an unhealthy society, more individuals would feel less inhibited to harm one another. In this sense, the malicious members ensure that an unhealthy society falls apart, giving way to a new, healthier, society. Cancer might serve a similar purpose. A body where the overall unity is weak is perhaps dangerous to the larger ecosystem. Cancer ensures that such a system falls apart.

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see some scientific literature on this. =P

    Either you're way off or 100 years ahead of your time.