Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center
Student Learning Curriculum: Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers

Later Years: Molecular Disease and Orthomolecular Medicine

Page 6-3

1970 Vitamin C and the Common Cold
A popular book that went into paperback editions and was translated into several languages. Asserted preventive and therapeutic effects from large doses of vitamin C, based on the results of scientific trials analyzed by Pauling in a literature review. It became a controversial best-seller, liked by the public but criticized by scientists and the medical establishment.
Manuscripts and Typescripts of Books 10.005 (Catalogue Vol. I page 276)
Publications from the 1970s include many that deal with topics of orthomolecular medicine, often prepared for symposia, and sometimes written for popular magazines. Of particular interest:
1973 Institute of Orthmolecular Medicine / Linus Pauling Institute
Established to continue research on the biochemistry of schizophrenia by Arthur Robinson, and research on vitamin C and cancer to be headed by Pauling and carried out by Ewan Cameron, a surgeon at a hospital in Scotland who had been experimenting with vitamin C treatments. The name was changed to the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in 1974. (Catalogue Vol. I pages 73-74)
Linus and Ava Helen Pauling holding a model of the alpha-helix on the date of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, June 17, 1973.
Linus and Ava Helen Pauling holding a model of the alpha-helix on the date of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, June 17, 1973.
LP Photographs, 1973i.12

1973 "The Genesis of the Concept of Molecular Disease"
Pauling dates this idea to 1945, discusses the work of Harvey Itano on sickle cells and the subsequent publication of their 1949 article, and describes his process of thought on scientific matters, in which ideas can lie dormant for long periods of time.
View Online: Manuscripts of Articles 1973a2.11(Catalogue Vol. I page 172)
Other material in this box (1973p) deals with schizophrenia, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and the common cold, as well as the history and the current state of nutrition research. Some are articles for popular magazines.
1974 "On the orthomolecular environment of the mind"
Pauling says he decided in 1954 to work on the molecular basis of mental disease.
Publications 1974p.13 (Catalogue Vol. I page 136)
Other material in this box (1974p): Pauling’s response to the American Psychiatric Association Task Force report on Megavitamins and Orthomolecular Therapy in Psychiatry.
1976 Orthomolecular medicine
Handwritten notes for a speech. Pauling’s own list of historical moments: hemoglobin and magnetism in 1935; immunology and complementariness in 1939; sickle-cell anemia in 1945; "Mental illness (vs cancer)" in 1954; orthomolecular psychiatry in 1966.
View Online: Manuscripts and Typescripts of Speeches 1976s3.8 (Catalogue Vol. I page 241)
1970s Research notebooks
Research notes from the 1970s appear in various notebooks. Boxes 23R, 28R, 31R (Catalogue Vol. II pages 102, 116, and 121, respectively) contain some 1970s material, but they are not relevant to orthomolecular medicine; some are scientific (on the chemical bond or nuclear structure), others are personal. Box 32R contains a single folder of vitamin C significant values. Boxes 33R-35R (Beginning with catalogue Vol. II page 130) contain varied notes from varying years; some are 1970s notes about vitamin C or cancer. There are a few notes on vitamins and on the common cold in Box 46R (Catalogue Vol. II page 153).
Box 37R (Catalogue Vol. II page 138) has some relevant notes, including one from 22 April 1971: "Note to myself: I have been interested for some time in the possibility that vitamin C has anti-cancer activity, because of its apparent general antiviral activity. There is little information in the literature...I feel now that it would be worthwhile to go ahead with a study..."
Linus Pauling near a newly unveiled Chemistry postage stamp, 1976.
Linus Pauling near a newly unveiled Chemistry postage stamp, 1976.
Linus Pauling and unidentified man, both in formal wear, standing near a large display of a postal stamp: "Chemistry; 13 [cents]; USA", 6 April 1976 first issue date." 1976

1976 Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu
An expanded version of the earlier book on vitamin C and the common cold.
Manuscripts and Typescripts of Books 13.001 (Catalogue Vol. I page 278)
1976 Ava Helen diagnosed with stomach cancer
Ava Helen’s cancer added a profound personal element to Pauling’s research into vitamin C and cancer. The diagnosis was followed by extensive surgery, and then, instead of the recommended chemotherapy or radiation, large doses of vitamin C. She regained her health for five years; the cancer recurred in 1981 and led to her death in that year.
Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1977.
Ava Helen and Linus Pauling, 1977.
LP Photographs, 1977i.20

1978 Lawsuit against the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine
Brought by Arthur Robinson in a dispute with Pauling over the handling and publication of research; settled out of court in 1983. (Catalogue Vol. IV pages 46-52)
1979 "Ascorbic acid and cancer: a review"
Written with Ewan Cameron and Brian Leibovitz for the journal Cancer Research.
Publications 1979p.1 (Catalogue Vol. I page 140)
1979 Mayo Clinic trials
Pauling responds to publication of results of Mayo Clinic trials on vitamin C and cancer, which found no significant effect from the vitamin therapy, with the critique that the patients in the trial were receiving chemotherapy that compromised the ability of the immune system to be assisted by vitamin C. Pauling responded in letters and, later, in his book with Ewan Cameron. (Catalogue Vol. II pages 43-45)
1979 Cancer and Vitamin C
A book for the public written with Ewan Cameron. Manuscript, notes and typescript.
Manuscripts and Typescripts of Books 14.001-14.010 (Catalogue Vol. I pages 278-279)
Flyer for "Vitamin C and Cancer," a speech by Linus Pauling, 1977.
Flyer for "Vitamin C and Cancer," a speech by Linus Pauling, 1977.
LP Manuscripts of Speeches, 1977s2.9

1970s-1980s Varied researches
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Pauling continued to publish on research on the chemical bond, crystallography, and on peace issues, as well as on orthomolecular medicine.