Otto H. Warburg grew up immersed in the culture of science. His father was a famous physicist, occupying the physics chair at the University of Berlin. He had many accomplished scientific friends, including Albert Einstein.
Therefore, Warburg had an in-depth background in the fields of physics and chemistry that most biologists lacked. In 1914, he was granted an ideal job for a scientist. It was an incredible honor for a young man still in his 20s. The Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften (The Kaiser Wilhelm Society for the Advancement of Science) appointed him a member.
Despite the name, it was not controlled by the government. It obtained its funding from international sources, including the Rockefeller Institute in the United States.
He would be expected to research whatever he wanted to.
It was not a university. He didn’t have to teach.
He didn’t have to waste time applying for grants. The Society paid all the bills.
All Dr. Warburg had to do was conduct research on anything that interested him.
Then World War I came along, and Warburg instead volunteered to join the army.
Four years later, Einstein wrote to Warburg to convince him to return to civilian life.
Warburg followed Einstein’s advice.
He returned to civilian life and set out to find a cure for cancer.
From 1924 to 1931, he received 46 nominations for the Nobel Prize.
Warburg discovered many essential vitamins and cofactors in the body. He won numerous awards for his research into the different oxygen (aerobic) and sugar (anaerobic or fermentation) pathways in the body.
He published his breakthrough paper, “The metabolism of tumors in the body” in the Journal of General Physiology in 1927.
He finally won the Nobel prize in 1931, for work related to how cells get energy from oxygen.
Warburg continued to work in Germany through the Nazi era.
Even though Dr. Warburg criticized Nazi policies and was the son of a Jew, Adolph Hitler kept the SS (Schutzstaffel) from taking Warburg away to a death camp. This was because Hitler’s mother died from breast cancer, and Hitler was terrified of dying from cancer himself.
Apparently “Jewish” science was not so bad when it might one day save der Fuhrer’s life.
Dr. Warburg’s most famous discovery concerns how cancer metabolizes energy:
According to Dr. Warburg, “The prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar.”
He maintained that until he died in 1970.
By 1970 the genetic theory of cancer had taken over, which led to the war on cancer primarily focusing on genes. Since 1970, cancer has increased dramatically and is now the leading cause of death in the US.
This failed war on cancer has caused many experts to rethink the shift away from Dr. Warburg’s proven research.
New light is being revealed by hundreds of doctors and scientists that is transforming Dr. Warburg’s research into a powerful modern way of fighting cancer.