Paul Niehans

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Paul Niehans
Paul Niehans.png
Born21 November 1882
Died1 September 1971
OccupationSurgeon, writer

Paul Niehans (21 November 1882 – 1 September 1971) was a Swiss surgeon who was one of the developers of a cellular therapy called the Niehans method or fresh cell therapy.[1][2][3] His renown grew through his treatment of celebrities such as Pope Pius XII, King Ibn Saud, Konrad Adenauer and Charlie Chaplin.


Paul Niehans, the son of a doctor, was born in Bern.[4] He first studied theology, but quickly grew dissatisfied with religious life and took up medicine. He first studied at Bern, then completed an internship in Zürich. Niehans joined the Swiss Army in 1912. When war broke out in the Balkans, Niehans set up a hospital in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Intrigued with Alexis Carrel's experiments, Niehans specialized in glandular transplants and by 1925 was one of the leading glandular surgeons in Europe. In 1931, Niehans treated a patient suffering from tetany whose parathyroid had been erroneously removed by another physician. Too weak for a glandular transplant, the patient was given injections of the parathyroid glands of steer, and she soon recovered.[5]

In 1937, influenced by the work of the neurosurgeon Harvey Williams Cushing, Niehans first used cerebral cells, from the hypothalamus and the hypophysis. Beginning in 1948, he also used liver, pancreas, kidney, heart, duodenum, thymus, and spleen cells. In 1949, he began to use lyophilized (freeze-dried) cells, not only fresh ones. In 1953, Paul Niehans treated Pope Pius XII, who in gratitude appointed him member of the Papal Academy of Sciences. In the United States, it is not legally available because of safety concerns and lack of proof of its effectiveness.[6]

Fresh cell therapy[edit]

Fresh cell therapy (also known as cellular therapy or live cell therapy), developed in the 1930s by Niehans, involves harvesting fresh cells from sheep (New Zealand Black Sheep, is the breed he used) embryo and injecting them directly (intramuscular) into the person’s buttocks.[7][8] There is no evidence it is useful for any health problem.[9] There have been several instances of severe adverse effects including death.[1]

Niehans promoted fresh cell therapy as a cancer treatment. In 1963, the American Cancer Society investigated and found "no evidence that treatment with the Fresh Cell Therapy or "CT" results in any objective benefit in the treatment."[2] Fresh cell therapy is considered an unproven method of cancer treatment and quackery by medical experts.[2][10]


  1. ^ a b Jean-Marie Abgrall (1 January 2000). Healing Or Stealing?: Medical Charlatans in the New Age. Algora Publishing. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-892941-28-2.
  2. ^ a b c "Unproven methods of cancer treatment". CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 13: 248–249. 1963. doi:10.3322/canjclin.13.6.248.
  3. ^ "The Fountain of Youth, updated". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Dr. Paul Niehans, Swiss Surgeon, 89". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Paula Anne Ford-Martin; Tish Davidson (2011), "Cell therapy", in Laurie J. Fundukian (ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 2 (4th ed.), Gale, pp. 885–887, ISBN 978-1-4144-8646-8
  6. ^ American Cancer Society cell therapy page
  7. ^ Live cell therapy today
  8. ^ Fresh cell therapy: The medicine of the future?
  9. ^ Robyn, MP; Newman, AP; Amato, M; Walawander, M; Kothe, C; Nerone, JD; Pomerantz, C; Behravesh, CB; Biggs, HM; Dahlgren, FS; Pieracci, EG; Whitfield, Y; Sider, D; Ozaldin, O; Berger, L; Buck, PA; Downing, M; Blog, D (2 October 2015). "Q Fever Outbreak Among Travelers to Germany Who Received Live Cell Therapy - United States and Canada, 2014". MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 64 (38): 1071–3. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6438a3. PMID 26421460.
  10. ^ "Fresh cell therapy". Federal Office of Public Health FOPH.


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