History of Cell Therapy

History of Cell Therapy

In 1912, Dr. Alexis Carrel won the Nobel prize for physiology/medicine for his work in introducing a technique to suture blood vessels together, making it possible to replace arteries. He was also the first to experiment with the transplantation of organs and tissue culture, aiming to obtain the revitalising effect of young cells on a culture of old and degenerated cells.

Mr Carrel said, “The hope of the humanity is based on the prevention of the degenerative and mental illnesses, but not in the relief of the symptoms”.

Professor Paul Niehans discovered cell therapy in 1931 by chance. One of his colleagues asked him for help in a critical case. During an operation of the thyroid gland, the parathyroid gland was damaged. As a result, the patient was suffering from strong convulsions and his state was critical. Dr. Niehans did not have the time to execute the surgical implant of the whole gland. Instead, using a trocart, he prepared parathyroid cells obtained from a calf and injected them into the patient. To his surprise, the technique worked. The patient recovered and lived for another 30 years until the age of 90. The success of this therapy led Dr. Niehans to abandon the surgical transplantation of the intact glands in favours of  only implants through injections.

In 1937, stimulated by the great neurosurgeon and neuroendocrinolist Cushing, Dr. Niehans implanted for the first time cerebral cells, principally of the hypothalamus and of the hypophysis. From 1948, he amplified the therapeutic system with liver, pancreas, kidneys, heart, duodenum, thymus, spleen.

In 1949, he continued with the first injections of the lyophilized (freeze, dried) cells. Pope Piuis XII was treated with these cells.

When is cellular therapy indicated?

Cell therapy will combat:

  • General loss of vitality and the immunity defences
  • States of mental and physical fatigue due to stress
  • Premature ageing and degenerative disorders of the body’s organs or systems
  • Arteriosclerosis
  • Arthritis
  • Affections connected with dysfunctions of the endocrine glands, especially during menopause