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Historical Background

Historical Background

Enderlein was a professor of Zoology and custodian at the Museum of Entomology at the University in Berlin. He studied natural sciences in Leipzig starting in 1894. In 1898 he received his Ph.D. "summa cum laude" in Zoology. Among his outstanding teachers were: Rudolf Leuckart, the founder of medical Parasitology, Wilhelm Ostwald, Chemistry Nobel prize winner and co-founder of Physical Chemistry, and Wilhelm Pfeffer, Botanist and plant Physiologist. They formed his scientific understanding of developmental and life processes. From Leuckart, Enderlein learned classic methods of biological research and comparative morphology which he would later transfer to Bacteriology.

Enderlein developed an international reputation in Entomology. His special interest was in the smallest insects: fleas, flies, lice, and parasites. In 1899 he became an assistant at the Berlin Agricultural College. One and a half years later he became an assistant in the division of Entomology of the Berlin Zoological Museum. This gave him an opportunity to merge his  professional and personal interests. In July 1906 he became a section head at the municipal museum in Stettin. In 1912 he was promoted to department chairman. The First World War interrupted his career.

He enlisted in 1914 and was appointed Army bacteriologist and serologist with the Second Corps in Stettin. Thus began his second professional career as a bacteriologist. He was promoted to Captain in the Medical Corps and was assigned to studying those germs which cause human illnesses. In order to pursue his bacteriological research after hours, he used his salary to set up a laboratory in his own home. He succeeded in presenting the nucleus of bacteria and to establish that bacteria (e.g. cholera) reproduce sexually. He was able to pursue his study of systematic comparative morphology. In 1917 he was transferred to a dirigible unit, first as medical orderly and soon as meteorologist. At the end of the war, he was busy working as a statistician in Stettin. His main bacteriological work, "Bacterial-Cyclogeny" stems from his research during the First World War. Due to the war, it was not published until 1925. Enderlein provided that bacteria multiplied not only by division, but also through a complex developmental cycle. He thereby contradicted contemporary bacteriological wisdom and restarted the old argument about microbial pleomorphism.

After the war, he was appointed Zoology professor, and head of the section pertaining for blood sucking insects, at the Berlin University Zoological Museum. Anna, his wife, died in 1920 of the consequences of a tuberculosis infection. They had married in 1904 and had two children: Erna (born 1902) and Guenther (born 1905).

In 1924 he received the title of Distinguished Professor. He remained at the Zoological Museum until his retirement in 1937. He wrote 377 entomological papers and more than 100 other scholarly works in the fields of bacteriology, immunology, hematology, oncology and various other medical specialties.  He also wrote biological articles on subjects pertaining to human health in the tradition of the "Lebensreform-movement", a social movement dedicated to helping people live in greater harmony with the natural world. He was founder and publisher of "Archiv  für klassifikatorische und phylogenetische Entomologie", of "Archiv für Entwicklungsgeschichte der Bakterien" (1931-1944), as well as the series, "Immunobiologica" (1946-1954) and "Akmon. Bausteine zur Vollgesundheit und Akmosophie" (1955-1959). He was an honorary member of numerous scientific associations.

After the first World War, he continued research as an avocation. From 1927 to 1931 he and Prof. Hans Herzog, MD, carried out extensive studies of tuberculosis. They proved the existence of submicroscopic life-forms of  the tuberculosis pathogen. They claimed that these virus sized life-forms, consisting only of colloidal nucleus protein, are phases of the tuberculosis pathogen. He named these life-forms "chondrite" and placed them in the mould genus Aspergillus. Step by step, he developed a scientifically valid system, hypothesized that viruses, bacteria and fungi had gone through a unitary evolutionary process. Therefore, the concept of "virus" refers to a whole group of submicroscopic organisms which range in size from a few hundred nanometers to a micrometer.

In 1931 he first came into conflict with the "Robert Koch-Institute" through his further studies concerning the efficacy of the so-called "Friedmann vaccine" for  tuberculosis and his commitment against the BCG vaccine of Albert Calmette and Camile Guerin. In that year, Fred Neufeld, head of the "Robert Koch-Institute", commented on Enderlein's "Bacterial-Cyclogeny" and his studies of tuberculosis and smallpox. Neufeld said that Enderlein had not mastered the subject's research methods. Rather, Neufeld maintained, Enderlein had mastered the means of attracting attention through newspaper propaganda, polemics and petitions to government officials. But Enderlein received also international recognition of and support for his theories from prominent microbiologists, despite his rejection in Germany. In America, above all, there was a growing circle of interested scientists.

Enderlein began his study of cancer in 1931. His studies were published in 1937. He wrote that an endogenous polymorphous microorganism living in blood causes cancer. In the ensuing years, Enderlein ascribed responsibility for other chronic illnesses to the same microorganism. This microorganism is supposed to be also a complex "chondrite-bacteria-mould organism" which, in its highest stage of development, is identical to the mould, Mucor racemosus (Fresen). Enderlein attributed this organism's evolution to a unique symbiosis with the predecessor of vertebrates millions of years ago. In 1943 he named it the "Endobiont".

Enderlein started a new phase of his life with his retirement in 1937. He married the forty-four years younger Sigrid Intelkofer. While he continued to publish entomological articles until 1942, he increasingly devoted himself to the study of the extraordinary blood dwelling microbe. He set up a research laboratory and in 1939 he began to manufacture an immunological compound based on his hard won knowledge of the evolution of bacteria. From 1939 to 1950 he also directed quality control for the manufacture of the tuberculosis vaccine "Utilin" (Friedmann-vaccine) made from cold blooded seaturtle tuberculosis pathogen by the company Sanum based in Berlin.

After the second World War, Enderlein strove anew for official recognition of his research, which he had previously been denied. Successes of the cancer drug, "Mutalin", which he developed, received coverage in newspapers and other periodicals. In the early 1950s he was again in conflict with representatives of the "Robert Koch-Institute" and with other governmental health officials. Georg Henneberg, Director of the "Robert Koch-Institute", was Enderlein's self appointed opponent. He used all available means to expose Enderlein to the public and the medical profession and to warn them against using Enderlein's medications. In the spring of 1952, Enderlein's research laboratory (IBICA), in Berlin's Lichterfelde district, was closed by the Berlin Public Health Department on the basis of a temporary decree. Due to public pressure, the closure was withdrawn. Nonetheless, Enderlein lost the legal case he had failed against the Berlin Public Health Department. Therefore he moved his home and continue to produce his immunological medications. His most important supporters were Professors Hans Harmsen, Director of the "Hamburg Municipal Hygienic Institute" and Siegfried Graeff, Pathologist and chairman of the Department of Basic Research at the "Hamburg Federation for Research on and action against Cancer". Even after the promised clinical studies of the cancer medication "Endobiont - Chondritin - Enderlein" (formerly "Mutalin") began, they were hindered by resistance inside the Federation.

Since the 1940's, Enderlein conducted extensive comparative and morphological research on blood at his Institute. These studies, when ultimately executed, yielded findings of the various developmental phases of microbes in organismic blood and their role in the development of many chronic and degenerative diseases. Enderlein contradicted the conventional medical wisdom that the blood of a healthy organism is sterile. Blood always accommodates a symbiont which is involved, in its physiological form, with coagulation processes. Not only blood cells, but also tissue cells contain the smallest units capable of the smallest biological unit of living matter according to Enderlein. Rather, simple life exists on the molecular level of a protein nucleus. These life forms reproduce and metabolize. When a number of these proteins gather together, they develop into simple, undifferentiated bacteria nuclei which control the development of more complex nuclei. These organisms stand on one of the first rungs of the ladder of evolution on earth. Concentration of nucleic acids and their organization and fixation into genes, chromosomes and genomes was the subsequent rung. Selection and mutation are not evolution's driving force. Rather, evolution is the joining of nuclei and the symbioses of the smallest, simplest living forms into more highly organized nuclei and single cells.

The 1950s and 60s were marked by a struggle for economic survival and a battle against the doctrine of insular scientific disciplines within Medicine and Public Health. One of his slogans during that period was: "A Biology of Health instead of the Medical Discipline of illnesses". Even in his old age Enderlein put the further enhancement of his research institute, "IBICA", first. In 1953 he founded and incorporated the "Akmosophic Society" as a non-profit organization to advocate for his health research and teachings. Enderlein remained in the tradition of the "Lebensreform-movement" and in accord with the exponents of a "Biological Medicine". The endobiont was the focal point of his theories.

Until only a few years before his death in 1968, Enderlein managed his enterprise for producing medicines. He left behind a voluminous corpus. For the last eighty years, publications have appeared about him, his "Bacterial Cyclogeny", the endobiont, his research in live blood analyses with darkfield-microscopy, and his isopathic immunological medications. His works were garbled equally by his critics and by his followers - sometimes knowingly, sometimes in ignorance. Enderlein, through his nomenclature, had created great obstacles to understanding the complex evolutionary processes of bacteria. He had made the study of his writings, in general, a form of Hermeticism and of "Bacterial Cyclogeny", in particular, a creed for his followers. Thereby, the scientific bases and historical background of his researches became lost.

  • March 17, 2017
  • Jessie Jin