When fomented in oxidant shadows and fuelled by sugary blood, an internal rebellion can turn cancerous.

Prof. Mumblebard claims: “Cancer is caused by cells that suffer random mutation and then replicate beyond regulation by the body. One cause of mutation is oxidant radicals, so reduced oxygenation of the body should inhibit rather than promote cancer. For its part, sugar is a normal source of energy for cells and would therefore not exacerbate cancer except perhaps indirectly via obesity.”

Robin and the Honey Badger respond: “Unicells are particularly vulnerable to damage from oxidants in their surroundings, and sugar is their ideal food for cellular replication. Prevalent conditions, which tend to be too rich in oxygen and too poor in sugar for free replication, consequently limit the power of unicells. Partly in response to these limitations, multicellular organisms originated from unicellular consortia by a process of symbiogenesis. For unicells to exploit the prevalent oxygen-rich and sugar-poor environments depended on economies of scale and a level of protection from oxidants that only large, complex, multicellular bodies could provide. However, this meant that each cell had to sacrifice the spontaneity of its replication and mutation and settle for a minimal supply of sugar. This loss of autonomy was acceptable for the cells in this collective strategy because of its larger-scale viability. According to this evolutionary rationale, the multicellular cooperation intrinsic to large, complex organisms can be partly unravelled if internal conditions tip in favour of independent replication. In practice, decreasing the internal supply of oxygen while increasing the internal supply of sugar – typical of an unhealthy regime of sedentary habits and overeating of processed carbohydrates – can partly emancipate individual cells, leading to disruption of the integrated functioning of the whole body. Indeed, such a regime can trigger a local reversion by mutating cells to certain metabolic and genetic tactics typical of the ancestral unicells. What eventually ensues is a physiological regression called cancer, in which slight anoxia in localised parts of the body is exacerbated and tumours can grow. Based on this line of reasoning, fresh attempts to control cancer should be based on fully oxygenating incipient tumours while at the same time minimising their supply of sugar.”

Please join us here at the Bio-edge with your own comments. In the discussion below we encourage links to any evidence supporting either Prof. Mumblebard or Robin and the Honey Badger.