Cancer as a new system

Cancer presents an adaptive organism with its own "bio-internet" and holo-memory. Cancer progresses through iterative cycles of the (de novo) emergence.


lung cancer

Cancer can only be fully understood through a grasp of its origin. 

-   How and why do some normal cells become rebellious and aggressive? Are there any common processes and rules that govern the transformation of normal cells into malignant neoplasm?

-   What is the main cause of cancers' diversity and "individualism"?

-   Why do some cancers metastasize while others do not?  

These and many other questions about cancer and its interactions with human body cannot be answered if we focus only on separate molecules and metabolic reactions. Two hallmarks of any cancerous process - its distinct high-rate metabolism and aggressiveness towards the host-organism would inevitably alter the spectral features of affected tissues and cells.

Spectra of cancer-cellsContrary to diversity of chemical and biochemical substances, the waves produced by molecular activity do not differ much from each other. In a bounded space of a living system the bulk of solid particles and corresponding waves move in similar patterns thus comprising two complementary realms. Hence, observation of system-waves would provide valuable information on the dynamics of its solid constituents. Indeed, spectral manifestation of benign and cancerous tissues is distinct: the Utah University researchers have demonstrated that the malignant colon tissues, when excited by laser light, emit many more coherent lines than benign tissues from the same colon [Polson R., Vardeny  ZV., 2004. Appl Phys. Letters; 85, 1289-91]. They have experimented with various healthy and cancerous tissues taken from different patients with very similar results. Disorder in cancerous tissue is much more chaotic than that in benign tissues (fig.1, upper spectra). Appearance of a laser-like emission in a disordered excited medium is termed "Random Lasing".

spectra polson BHT

Fig.1 Emissions of both - cancerous tissues (up) and fingertips of patients (bottom) manifest cancer-specific signatures

Our team found the same spectral hallmarks of cancer in 2000, earlier than the US scientists, albeit we studied the emission of "non-perturbed" body, not the emission of extracted tissues (fig.1, bottom images).

Random lasing creates a perfect order out of extreme disorder. This effect that takes place in a chaotic medium facilitates creation of a new ordered system out of “ashes” of the host-body's degrading cells. In a stressful situation, e.g., when deprived of energy and oxygen, the cells can act as a gain medium for wave reinforcement and focusing. Even individual cells are capable of producing laser-like emissions, remaining alive after prolonged lasing action: these data were published by researchers from Harvard Medical School, who created single-cell biological “lasers” based on green fluorescent protein. 

We have described the random lasing effect and wave interactions in cells/tissues because they account for the appearance of new adaptive system - cancer -out of partially degraded host-tissues.

Iterative Carcinogenesis. According to our theory and the BHT-data, any cancer is a new "organism" with altered karyo- and phenotype that originates within a larger and more mature host-system only if a cluster of genetically altered cells builds up its own real-time holographic mechanisms of control and self-regulation. We believe that carcinogenesis is a particular example of the more general scenario of system-genesis. The wave-wave and wave-solid matter interactions within a bounded small space of the host-body play critical role in emergence of new adaptive system. Apart from the widely known facts about biochemical and genetic features of cancer cells, our model takes into account some physical aspects of carcinogenesis and regards the cell-transformation as a physical process of new system-formation (a kind of "improper pregnancy"). Many stages (e.g.,compaction and synchronization of  vibrations) are similar in cancer and embryogenesis. The steps of proposed "Iterative Carcinogenesis" are shown on the schema 1. 

stages of carcinogenesis

Schema 1. Cancer "life-cycling". See our publication [Marina Shaduri and Marc Bouchoucha (2013). Life-Cycling of Cancer: New Concept, Cancer Treatment - Conventional and Innovative Approaches, InTech]

According to our scenario, the “prenatal” life of malignant cells starts in isolation from normally functioning host-tissues. This segregated small “nursery” of cancer cells must reach the state of over-excitement and random lasing. The excitement of cellular matrix can be caused by many cancer-promoting factors, such as degradation of intracellular substances that release chemical energy, some viruses/microbes, local increase of temperature, repeated mechanical irritation, inflammatory reactions, etc. The boundary of an emerging system must be closed to substances and oxygen at the first stages of carcinogenesis, otherwise it would not accumulate excess of metabolic energy. Such a scenario might play out in areas surrounded by tissues of increased density or low excitability (e.g., fibroids, scars, etc.). Within a small isolated area of starving and oxygen-deprived tissue a complex action of death-programs (autophagy dominates over apoptosis) maintains viability of certain primitive cells at the expense of more vulnerable ones. The remnants of sacrificed cells serve as the source of energy, nutrients and building blocks for a cluster of rescued cells. The most viable cells with simple cytoskeleton, increased pool of free (kinetic) energy, altered genetic material and capability to proliferate without additional resources can start to divide and colonize the “nursery” preparing themselves for the cooperative functioning. Extreme disorder in overexcited biological tissue is necessary for the creation of an ideal order (via random lasing).The new genetic makeup of surviving cells might have many causes, such as partial degradation of cellular DNA, abnormal mitosis due to metabolic and ischemic stresses, fusion of cells or their “remnants”, functional impairment of DNA-repair pathways, the shattering and rebuilding of chromosomes, etc. The overexcited colony of synchronized primitive cells being armed with coherent (laser-like) beams can readily cut/weld the previously impermeable barriers, macro-molecules and various cellular structures of the host-body.

Taking into consideration our empirical data and solid evidence of other researchers, we came to the conclusion that malignant neoplasia is an iterative process: the same scenario is repeated by the primary neoplasm (first generation) and its young offspring multiple times within various tissues, in various conditions and with progressive shortening of their “prenatal” periods. Such progression of the disease (de novo creation of nurseries for new clones) can explain the capability of many cancers to metastasize through successive rejuvenation of their “stems”. Multiple execution of the described strategy enables the primary clone of malignant neoplasm to progress exponentially, conquer more and more space at the expense of diverse tissues, resist new stresses and ultimately destroy its breadwinner. From this point of view, certain stresses posed by standard chemo- and radiation therapy might be considered as the factors that facilitate the genesis of extremely aggressive and resistant clones of “neoplastic organisms”.

robin despons nursery lasing

Fig.2 Manifestation of a relatively early and advanced stages of cancer on fingertip BHT-grams. Left - a case of the breast cancer relapse detected 7 months prior to its clinical manifestation. An isolated "ball" radiates intensively on the dark background. Right - bright narrow lines on a darker background are typical BHT-signs of random lasing. This is a case of advanced digestive cancer.

Thus, in order to become an incorporated individual system with its personal "bio-internet", a minor area of a host-body has to be isolated, partially destroyed and then transformed into a new ordered system. New organisms, among them cancers, can emerge only thanks to an orchestrated functioning of all solid constituents and corresponding waves. The initial degradation and simplification are necessary, as any new (adaptive) organism, including cancer, should empty/erase the complex "holo-diary” of the host-cells before it starts to develop and adapt. 

The physical processes described above, as well as their precise timing and order seem to be characteristic for the emergence of any autonomously functioning system of natural origin: an older and larger system "gives birth" to one or more daughter-systems whenever appear some uncontrollable and isolated/bounded areas beneficial for the emergence of new viable systems.

The generic model of system-genesis is discussed in the publication by Marina Shaduri "The Holographic Principle and Emergence Phenomenon" (the book "Holography, Research and Technologies", Joseph Rosen (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-227-2, InTech). 

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