[Observations by Avery and Karl Landsteiner on Linus Pauling's work on artificial antibodies]
Hanson was associate director of the Natural Sciences program of the Rockefeller Foundation. These notes are from Hanson's
NOTE: The handwriting at the bottom left corner of the page belongs to Dr. Joshua Lederberg. Dr. Lederberg gathered materials
from the Rockefeller Archive Center (note the stamp in the bottom right corner) for his research on Oswald Avery. Neither
the stamp nor Lederberg's note are on the original document.
NOTE: The note in the upper right corner of the page was written lightly in pencil and is illegible on the scanned copy.
L. repeats much of what he said a year ago in recommending assistance to Pauling--that if antibodies can be produced in vitro
this will be one of the great achievements in immunology. If it proves to be true, any amount of money expended would not
be wasted. L., however, is critical of Pauling's work to date. He, himself, tried, in a very small way, to repeat P.'s
experiments and got negative results. He does not stress this, however, since his experiments were most modest and since it
is not possible at present exactly to repeat P.'s technique. L.'s general conclusion is that if he were a betting
man he would think the chances less than 50-50 that P. has manufactured antibodies. He also believes that P. is working on
an unnecessarily broad front, that if he solved the central problem of producing antibodies in a test-tube, that is all that
is necessary to open up great vistas of research for many workers and to attract financial support from many sources.
Oswald T. Avery
Re: Linus Pauling's work on artificial antibodies.
Since part of Pauling's report dealt with experiments in producing some protection against disease in mice, extending
their average length of life, following inoculation, over the controls by 24 hours, Landsteiner suggested that FBH see Avery,
who would be greatly interested on this aspect of Pauling's work.
A. says he is not impressed with the results of attempting to protect mice with Pauling's materials. He does, however,
in common with others consulted, believe that this work should be supported to the extent that is necessary to demonstrate
it is a truth or falsity, although, as Landsteiner pointed out, the negative of Pauling's theory could never be proved.
A. happens to know Sturtevant, Tyler and the biological group for whom part of the grant would be used, and thinks very highly
of this able group of geneticists working in the immunological field.