Banting & Best

On 15 April 1923 Insulin became available to the public to help regulate Type 1 Diabetes. 95 years ago, to the day, Diabetes is no longer a death sentence. Dr. Frederick Banting along with then student Charles Best worked hard discovering the pancreatic hormone Insulin, and how they could use it to treat Type 1 Diabetes. Along with the help of Professor John Macleod and Biochemist James Collip, these four men helped save millions of lives.

Dr. Banting started medical school in 1912, his education was fast tracked due to the need for more doctors in the war. He graduated medical school in December of 1916 and reported to the army the next day. He was wounded in the war, but even that could not stop him from working. After the war, Banting went back to teaching. Banting had to give a lecture on the Pancreas for one of his classes on 1 November 1920, so he researched many reports that other scientist have published before the lecture. It was in reading one of these reports that he proposed a few ideas on how to safely extract the insulin from a pancreas without the insulin being destroyed. His work over the next 3 years with Dr. Best proved successful and they were able to provide a life saving tool for Type 1 Diabetics. On 23 January 1922, a patient named Leonard Thompson age 14 was near death due to Type 1 Diabetes, was given an injection of insulin. This insulin worked in lowering his blood sugar and restoring him back to health. He was the first to be saved by the hard work these four gentlemen had accomplished. in 1923 Banting and Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Banting was only 32 years old. He shared half of this with Best, and Macleod shared half of his with Collip.

Three years is what it took for 1 doctor to be inspired to find a way to prevent death and improve life for a horrible deadly disease. In three years, Dr. Banting and the other three gentlemen were able to discover the hormone insulin and safely extract it. They were able to refine the hormone so that it could be safely administered to the patients without any adverse side effects or reactions. Was this just a fluke in history? These men did something amazing, in a ridiculously quick timeframe. I wish that I had the brains for science, this story inspires me beyond words, and I hope that other scientist and doctors can continue to find cures for diseases.

Up until the discovery of insulin, Diabetes was a death sentence. Some people diagnosed could diet and not eat, but eventually they would die from starvation. Others would try to avoid sugar and carbohydrates, but with no way to regulate their blood sugar properly their high blood sugar would turn their blood acidic and kill them. Insulin is a necessity for Type 1 Diabetics to live, diet and exercise will NOT help lower blood sugar enough to survive.

I know that there are doctors and scientist working hard to find cures for all of the horrible diseases out there. I hope that many cures will be introduced in my lifetime. The three years of incredibly hard work that these four men collaborated on, has saved millions of lives, and will continue to do so throughout the future. Insulin has been evolving over the years from injection to inhalation(AFREZZA). I hope that these advances keep growing and soon, a cure will be discovered.

oh also, on 23 January 1923 Banting, Best and Collip were awarded US Patents on Insulin. These three each sold their patent to the University of Toronto for $1 each. Just another reason why these guys are my heroes.

Thank you Dr. Banting, Dr. Best, Professor Macleod and Dr. Collip.


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