A new theory of the origin of cancer: Quantum coherent entanglement, centrioles, mitosis, and differentiation

Stuart R. Hameroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Malignant cells are characterized by abnormal segregation of chromosomes during mitosis ("aneuploidy"), generally considered a result of malignancy originating in genetic mutations. However, recent evidence supports a century-old concept that maldistribution of chromosomes (and resultant genomic instability) due to abnormalities in mitosis itself is the primary cause of malignancy rather than a mere byproduct. In normal mitosis chromosomes replicate into sister chromatids which are then precisely separated and transported into mirror-like sets by structural protein assemblies called mitotic spindles and centrioles, both composed of microtubules. The elegant yet poorly understood ballet-like movements and geometric organization occurring in mitosis have suggested guidance by some type of organizing field, however neither electromagnetic nor chemical gradient fields have been demonstrated or shown to be sufficient. It is proposed here that normal mirror-like mitosis is organized by quantum coherence and quantum entanglement among microtubule-based centrioles and mitotic spindles which ensure precise, complementary duplication of daughter cell genomes and recognition of daughter cell boundaries. Evidence and theory supporting organized quantum states in cytoplasm/nucleoplasm (and quantum optical properties of centrioles in particular) at physiological temperature are presented. Impairment of quantum coherence and/or entanglement among microtubule-based mitotic spindles and centrioles can result in abnormal distribution of chromosomes, abnormal differentiation and uncontrolled growth, and account for all aspects of malignancy. New approaches to cancer therapy and stem cell production are suggested via non-thermal laser-mediated effects aimed at quantum optical states of centrioles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-136
Number of pages18
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Aneuploidy
  • Cancer
  • Centrioles
  • Differentiation
  • Genomic instability
  • Laser therapy
  • Malignancy
  • Microtubules
  • Mitosis
  • Mitotic spindles
  • Neoplasm
  • Quantum coherence
  • Quantum computation
  • Quantum entanglement
  • Quantum optics
  • Quantum theory
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'A new theory of the origin of cancer: Quantum coherent entanglement, centrioles, mitosis, and differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this