Implications of quantum metabolism and natural selection for the origin of cancer cells and tumor progression

Paul Davies, Lloyd A. Demetrius, Jack A. Tuszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Empirical studies give increased support for the hypothesis that the sporadic form of cancer is an age-related metabolic disease characterized by: (a) metabolic dysregulation with random abnormalities in mitochondrial DNA, and (b) metabolic alteration - the compensatory upregulation of glycolysis to offset mitochondrial impairments. This paper appeals to the theory of Quantum Metabolism and the principles of natural selection to formulate a conceptual framework for a quantitative analysis of the origin and proliferation of the disease. Quantum Metabolism, an analytical theory of energy transduction in cells inspired by the methodology of the quantum theory of solids, elucidates the molecular basis for differences in metabolic rate between normal cells, utilizing predominantly oxidative phosphorylation, and cancer cells utilizing predominantly glycolysis. The principles of natural selection account for the outcome of competition between the two classes of cells. Quantum Metabolism and the principles of natural selection give an ontogenic and evolutionary rationale for cancer proliferation and furnish a framework for effective therapeutic strategies to impede the spread of the disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number011101
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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