Dr. Warburg's Great Discovery!

Dr. Otto Heinrich Warburg - 1931 Nobel Prize Winner!


Dr. Otto Warburg was director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute (now Max Planck Institute) for cell physiology at Berlin. He investigated the metabolism of tumors and the respiration of cells, particularly cancer cells.

In his work The Metabolism of Tumors, he demonstrated that all forms of cancer are characterized by two basic conditions: acidosis and hypoxia (lack of oxygen).

Whereas, acidosis and a lack of oxygen are two sides of the same coin: where you have one, you have the other.

Dr. Warburg is accredited to discovering that all normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation and ideally the fernantation of sugars. Oxygen gas, the donor of energy in plants and animals, is dethroned in the cancer cells and replaced by the energy yielding reaction of the lowest living forms, namely the fermentation of sugar. Thus cancer survives anaerobically, without oxygen and additionally it survives in a low pH acidic and toxemic environment. As he states, " Cancerous tissues are acidic". Cancer cannot survive in high levels of oxygen.

“All normal cells have an absolute requirement for oxygen, but cancer cells can live without oxygen – a rule without exception.” ... “Deprive a cell 35% of its oxygen for 48 hours and it may become cancerous.”
Dr. Otto Warburg, The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Cell Physiology

“Cancerous tissues are acidic, whereas healthy tissues are alkaline. Water splits into H+ and OH- ions, if there is an excess of H+, it is acidic; if there is an excess of OH-ions, then it is alkaline.”
Dr. Otto Warburg, The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Cell Physiology

His Background!

Dr. Otto Heinrich Warburg was born on October 8, 1883, in Freiburg, Baden. His father, the physicist Emil Warburg, was President of the Physikalische Reichsanstalt, Wirklicher Geheimer Oberregierungsrat.

Otto studied chemistry under the great Emil Fischer, and gained the degree, Doctor of Chemistry (Berlin), in 1906. He then studied under von Krehl and obtained the degree, Doctor of Medicine (Heidelberg), in 1911. He served in the Prussian Horse Guards during World War I. In 1918 he was appointed Professor at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology, Berlin-Dahlem. Since 1931 he is Director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Cell Physiology, there, a donation of the Rockefeller Foundation to the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft, founded the previous year.

Warburg’s early researches with Fischer were in the polypeptide field. At Heidelberg he worked on the process of oxidation. His special interest in the investigation of vital processes by physical and chemical methods led to attempts to relate these processes to phenomena of the inorganic world. His methods involved detailed studies on the assimilation of carbon dioxide in plants, the metabolism of tumors, and the chemical constituent of the oxygen transferring respiratory ferment.

Warburg was never a teacher, and he has always been grateful for his opportunities to devote his whole time to scientific research. His later researches at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute have led to the discovery that the flavins and the nicotinamide were the active groups of the hydrogen-transferring enzymes. This, together with the iron-oxygenase discovered earlier, has given a complete account of the oxidations and reductions in the living world. For his discovery of the nature and mode of action of the respiratory enzyme, the Nobel Prize has been awarded to him in 1931. This discovery has opened up new ways in the fields of cellular metabolism and cellular respiration. He has shown, among other things, that cancerous cells can live and develop, even in the absence of oxygen.

To prevent cancer it is therefore proposed first to keep the speed of the blood stream so high that the venous blood still contains sufficient oxygen; second, to keep high the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood; third, to add always to the food, even of healthy people, the active groups of the respiratory enzymes; and to increase the doses of these groups, if a precancerous state has already developed. If at the same time exogenous carcinogens are excluded rigorously, then much of the endogenous cancer may be prevented today.