History of Cellular Medicine and scientific micronutrient research

By the middle of the 19th century, the microscope had made its appearance in medical research. In 1855 the physician Rudolph Virchow (1821-1902), a professor at the Berlin Charité university hospital, described ‘cellular pathology’, the understanding that all diseases arise at the level of the cells, for the first time. This new approach unleashed a medical-scientific revolution and is still regarded worldwide as describing the basis of disease (pathology).

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the smallest molecules in the diet, that are crucial for the maintenance of good health, were discovered. In 1912 the Polish scientist Casimir Funk named this new group of molecules ‘vitamins’. The word ‘vitamin’ is derived from the Latin word ‘vita’ (life) and the chemical name ‘amine’ (as vitamins were originally thought to contain amino acids).

During the years 1928-1965 numerous Nobel Prizes were awarded to doctors and researchers for the discovery of vitamins and their role in our general health. The recipients Included the Dutchman C. Eijkman and the British F.G. Hopkins (vitamin B1); the Germans A.O.R. Windaus (vitamin D) and R. Kuhn (vitamins B2 and B6); the Americans G. H. Whipple, G. R. Minot and W. P. Murphy (vitamin B12); the Dane H.C.P. Dam (vitamin K); the British W. N. Haworth and the Hungarian A. Szent-György (vitamin C); and the Swiss P. Karrer (vitamin A) and the British researcher Dorothy Hodgkin for the ultimate decoding of the structure of vitamin B12. The complete list can be found on the website of the Nobel Prize Committee.


Dr. Linus Pauling

Knowledge about vitamins was systematically expelled from medical education and practice due to the influence of the pharmaceutical investment industry. Nevertheless, by the middle of the twentieth century there was a small group of doctors and researchers who progressed further with vitamin research. Dr. R. F. Klenner brought the attention of a two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling, to vitamin research. Pauling devised the term ‘orthomolecular medicine’ in the mid-sixties. (‘Ortho’ is the Greek word for ‘right’, so the meaning of the word ‘orthomolecular is: the ‘right molecule’). In 1974, the Linus Pauling Institute of Orthomolecular Medicine was established in Palo Alto, California, USA.



“Our goal is to create a world in this generation in which every man, every woman, and every child can live a healthy life”

Dr. Matthias Rath

In 1989, the two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling invited Dr. Rath to set up a research department for cardiovascular diseases at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto. This branch of research was new in that institute, which until then had focused on the role of vitamin C in cancer and colds.

Dr. Rath had aroused the interest of the Nobel laureate in his research into a new risk factor for cardiovascular disease: the molecule lipoprotein (a). He had carried out this research together with his colleagues from the University of Hamburg. Between 1990 and 1992, Dr. Rath, supported by Dr. Pauling, worked on lipoprotein (a) and found it not only to be a key molecule in deciphering the causes of cardiovascular disease, but also that it provided crucial evidence for identifying the main mechanisms of the cellular spread of cancer.

The following scientific articles laid the foundation for our modern understanding of these two common diseases:

Heart and vascular disease:



1992: Dr. Rath’s and Dr. Pauling’s historic appeal: “The end of heart disease is in sight!”

With his last pubic call, Dr. Pauling supported the scientific discoveries of Dr. Rath. In April 1992, the two scientists launched their historic ‘Call for an International Effort to Abolish Heart Disease’. Shortly before his death in 1994, Dr. Pauling asked Dr. Rath to continue his life’s work in the field of vitamin research.


1990s: The origins of cellular medicine and the establishment of the Dr. Rath Research Institute of Cellular Medicine

In 1994, after micronutrient deficiency was proven to be the primary cause of chronic diseases, Dr. Rath coined the term ‘Cellular Medicine’. One hundred and fifty years after the establishment of ‘cellular pathology,’ the scientific cycle was thus completed. The discovery of vitamins on the one hand, and the evidence of their deficiency as the primary cause of common diseases on the other, had completed the picture.

In 1999, Dr. Rath launched his own Research Institute for Cellular Medicine. He asked his former scientific colleague at the Linus Pauling Institute, the world-renowned biochemist and molecular biologist Dr. Alexandra Niedzwiecki, to take charge of it. Over the past two decades, under Dr. Niedzwiecki’s skillful management, the institute has developed into one of the world’s leading research institutes in the field of scientifically based natural healing approaches. With more than one hundred scientific publications available on the institute’s website, and also in the world’s largest online medical library, PubMed, the institute is shaping the acceptance of vitamin research worldwide.