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arrows Discovery of Cetyl Myristoleate

Harry W Diehl, who retired after 40 years of service at the National Institutes of Health in the Laboratory of Chemistry of the National institute of Arthritis, Metabolic, and Digestive Diseases, was led to the discovery of cetyl myristoleate through his concern in 1953 for a neighbor's health problems.

An award winning researcher, Mr. DiehI developed over 500 new compounds, several of which were patented by the U.S. Patent Office for the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Diehl was recognized in 1958 for developing a new method of preparing 2-deoxy-d-ribose, a sugar found in deoxyribonucleic acid. This sugar is of vital importance to much basic research, and was used by Jonas Salk, MD., as a culture medium to grow the Salk polio vaccine virus.

Mr. Diehl pursued a scientific investigation using laboratory mice and rats, and discovered cetyl myristoleate through his investigations and analyses. He began his experiments in 1962 and by 1964 had determined the substance he was looking for was indeed to be found in mice. After countless experiments, reactions, and purifications, the immunity factor was identified as cetyl myristoleate through gas chromatography and mass spectrophotometry.

Mr. Diehl later discovered that cetyl myristoleate also occurs naturally in male beavers and sperm whale oil.

Copyright © EHP Products, Inc., 1997


In Memoriam

Harry W. Diehl was born in 1910 in Harrisonburg, VA. Considered by many as one of the most brilliant natural talents in chemistry they have ever seen, Diehl retired in 1974 after 40 years of service at the National Institutes of Health in the Laboratory of Chemistry of the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolic, and Digestive Diseases. He discovered cetyl myristoleate in 1964. Diehl was led to the discovery of cetyl myristoleate through his concern in 1953 about a neighbor’s pain and disability. Mr. Diehl discovered cetyl myristoleate through his exhaustive investigations and analyses. As he put it, ?My discovery of cetyl myristoleate was a lot of hard work and a lot of old fashioned chemical cooking.?

Diehl’s research on cetyl myristoleate was published in the March, 1994 issue of the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the prestigious peer review journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association and the American Chemical Society. Diehl received two U. S. Patents on cetyl myristoleate, the first in 1977 and a second one in 1996.

An award winning researcher, Diehl developed over 500 new compounds, several of which were patented by the U.S. Patent Office. Diehl was recognized in 1958 for developing a new method of preparing 2-deoxy-d-ribose, a sugar found in deoxyribonucleic acid. This sugar is of vital importance to much basic research, and was used by Jonas Salk, M.D., as a culture medium to grow the Salk polio vaccine virus. Diehl’s process was published in Biochemical Preparations, one of the most authoritative journals on the subject. 

Harry Weldon Diehl died after a short illness in Charlottesville, Virginia on December 22, 1999 at the age of 89. In life, Harry Diehl was a tower of strength, dedication, and chemical knowledge. He has left behind a legacy of hope.

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