Discovery of insulin
In the fall of 1920 Dr. Frederick Banting had an idea that would unlock the mystery of the dreaded diabetes disorder. Before this, for thousands of years, a diabetes diagnosis meant wasting away to a certain death. Working at a University of Toronto laboratory in the very hot summer of 1921 Fred Banting and Charles Best were able to make a pancreatic extract which had anti diabetic characteristics.
They were successful in testing their extract on diabetic dogs. Within months Professor J. J. R. MacLeod, who provided the lab space and general scientific direction to Banting and Best, put his entire research team to work on the production and purification of insulin. J.B. Collip joined the team and with his technical expertise the four discoverers were able to purify insulin for use on diabetic patients. The first tests were conducted on Leonard Thompson early in 1922. These were a spectacular success.
Word of this spread quickly around the world giving immediate hope to many diabetic persons who were near death. A frenzied quest for insulin followed. Some patients in a diabetic coma made miraculous recoveries.
While insulin is not a cure, this medical discovery has and continues to save millions of lives world-wide. The production of insulin has changed a great deal since 1922. Modern science and technology has made high quality insulin and delivery systems available to diabetic persons.