Atanas Todorov Atanasov's interesting and challenging theory that cells have their own central nervous systems are inspired by Ulam's noöcyte research, and by James Blish's observations of paramecium language skills.
It is a good question. Are the centrioles sensory centres, which integrate internal-milieu signals from the microtubules with external information acquired from the cilia, allowing the cell to respond intelligently to its environment?
Why ask me?Because you're a cell.
No, I am a Shmoo! Or a character from a Magritte painting! I forget which.
These attempts by the cells to conceal their sentience is suspicious and hints at some form of hidden agenda. What are they up to?
Belated UPDATE. Atanasov's theory accounts for cancer, as a kind of cellular psychopathy that happens when centriole malfunction robs a cell of its sense of rationality and decorum: Things go pear-shaped. This is why the theory featured in the proceedings of the 9th International Conference of Anticancer Research, as published in Anticancer Research journal* [warning, 494 pages].
For completeness it also behooves us to mention Dumitru Pavel's etiology, in which cancer is a kind of protest action provoked by breathing wrong or heartbeating wrong. The unsatisfactory milieu distresses the cells so much that they morph into cancer cells to express their discontent (except when they morph into TB bacteria or HIV virions). Misused heart-muscle cells degenerate into leukemia; chewing wrong provokes epithelial cells into becoming stomach or esophagal cancers; lactating wrong causes breast cancer; not flaring one's nostrils properly while breathing turns cells into lung cancer.
Pavel's publication of his theory-shaped hairball was published, and then retracted from a bottom-feeding mockademic journal (on account of the AIDS denial and TB denial).** Pavel further promotes it in comment threads whenever there is a high-profile cancer death, and it has also been pulled from the trash pile and printed as a 17-page letter-to-the-editor in a marginally less skeevy journal faced with a surplus of empty pages (here).
* Both journal and conferences are not-entirely-mainstream affairs edited and organised by the enthusiastic John G. Delinasios.
** No longer accessible through the Gazoogle Cache, and the publishers deleted the original to cover their trail of slime, but here is a saved copy as my gift to the world. Read it and marvel for it is as mad as a barrel of green squirrels dancing a jig on a giant blue flower.