The miracle of insulin

Diabetes was basically a death sentence before two Canadian researchers discovered insulin in 1921. Dr. Frederick Banting and his research assistant Charles Best were testing the theory that the pancreatic juices in diabetes patient were harmful to the secretion of the pancreatic islets. In their lab at the University of Toronto, Banting and Best surgically restricting the flow of digestive juices from the pancreas to the intestines of a healthy dog, then removed the organ, ground it up and filtered out a substance they named “isletin”. They injected the isletin into a diabetic dog and observed that its blood glucose level dropped. They were able to keep the dog healthy and symptom-free with a few injections a day. Eventually Banting and Best moved on to bigger animals like cows, renamed their extract “insulin” and began human testing. The two scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923 for their discovery, the same year medical firm Eli Lilly began producing enough insulin to supply the entire North American continent.

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