[Fis] Fwd: Re: Cancer Cure? (Plamen S.)

Robert E. Ulanowicz ulan at umces.edu
Thu Jun 2 17:36:04 CEST 2016

> -------- Mensaje reenviado --------
> Asunto: 	Re: [Fis] Cancer Cure?
> Fecha: 	Tue, 31 May 2016 19:54:05 +0200
> De: 	Dr. Plamen L. Simeonov <plamen.l.simeonov en gmail.com>
> Para: 	Robert Ulanowicz <ulan en umces.edu>
> CC: 	Pedro C. Marijuan <pcmarijuan.iacs en aragon.es>
> Dear Bob and All,
> it is a compliment for me to read your notes on the subject. You don't
need to excuse. It is indeed a complex world of relations. And tt is
good that you rmentioned all this again from your perspective. We do not
know how many have entered the discussion later. Reiterations and
questions are always good and welcome. Well, I was expecting a vigorous
discussion on this subject which approaches its end now. But it is still
better to have one feedback rather than writing all this on paper of my
own without knowing what the reviewer or the reader would say at the
end. I still hope to hear a few more voices on that. We could take on
some of the other two major groups of diseases mentioned in the opening

Dear Plamen and Pedro,

Thank you for your kind words. I hope I am not going over my weekly quota
by answering, but I will remain quiet for a while after this.

> Bob, I am glad that you mentioned quantum logic. Do you think
> we can try using it to express the emergent state of a disease (in
combination or not with heterogeneity afine SOC) We are not limited to
cancer only.

I am no expert in any kind of logic, but am acutely aware that our world
requires more than the standard Aristotelian sort. (Just ask Joe Brenner.)
As for quantum behavior at macroscopic scales, I remain quite skeptical
that it is the same phenomenon that operates at atomic and subatomic
scales. On the other hand, I am quite open to quantum-like behaviors at
macroscales. I think a few investigators are aware of this ontological
difference and are treating the subject in the right manner --
dimensionally speaking.

For example, Dr. Diederik Aerts <http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/aerts/> of the
Vrije Universiteit Brussel  was able to show that quantum-like behavior
can transpire in macrosystems in total abstraction of the Planck distance
and the quantum vacuum
<http://arxiv.org/pdf/1212.0109.pdf>. His associate, Dr. Sandro Sozzo
<http://www.vub.ac.be/CLEA/people/sozzo/>, has applied Aerts' ideas to

> In fact I am also interested to know your opinion on such
> aspects as self-similarity or symmetry/asymetry during the development
of a disease throughout all transition phases. These issues have been
often discussed in a different context at FIS.

I acknowledge self-similarity in physical systems and imagine some of that
behavior bleeds over into biology (as for example, with Aert's work that I
just mentioned). I don't see self-similarity as a major player in biology,
however. My familiarity with dimensional analysis tells me that one should
always look for qualitatively different behavior at different scales and
that asymmetry plays a greater role in biology than it does in physics.

> How about the
> biosemiotics aspect which I mentioned earlier?

I think biosemiotics provides a viable pathway to understanding living
systems. <http://people.clas.ufl.edu/ulan/files/StepSton.pdf> I wasn't
always a fan of it, thinking that its narrative  was too anthropomorphic.
Jesper Hofmeyer, however, showed me some convincing examples that were
decidedly not anthropomorphic.

> Tell me what do you think could be a promising approach to tackle a
tough health problem.

As you possibly may know, my hobby horse has been quantified flow
networks, because they force one to think in holisitc terms. (Not that
holism is all there is, but it is usually a player in any living system.)
In my first book, Growth and Development (p160) and later in my second
book, Ecology, the Ascendent Perspective (pp149-151), I mentioned how
medicine needed to consider more than just oncogenes in their approach to
cancer therapy. I suggested that more attention needed to be paid to whole
system behaviors, especially that of the immune system. Well, of course
immunotherapy has now become the most promising therapy against cancer
(but unfortunately not because of my remarks :).

> Is there anybody out there? :-)
> All the best,
> Plamen

Some of us are listening! :)

The best,

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