A systematic approach to cancer: evolution beyond selection

This recent open access paper in Clinical and Translational Medicine caught my attention primarily because it invokes the concept of stigmergy. It’s unusual, though not surprising, that the idea is now finding some currency in medicine.

Eukaryotic cells have an entire panoply of communicative and cooperative mechanisms. Since the individual cellular participants can have independent goals in any mixed cellular ecology, there is a natural division of labor. The variety of these participants working together through stigmergic paths builds complexity, in sequence or in parallel, based on a continuous stream of information from within any niche or those aspects of any conjoined information field that is shared with other niches.

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