Fast facts about type 1 diabetes
When was insulin invented to treat diabetes?
Short answer: Insulin was first injected to treat diabetes in 1922 by Frederick Banting in Toronto, Canada.
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Insulin was not really invented because it exists naturally in our bodies if we do not have type 1 diabetes.
In 1916, Nicolae Paulescu, a Romanian, developed a pancreatic extract which normalized blood sugar levels when injected into dogs. His term for insulin was pancreatine.
Insulin was isolated in 1921 by the Canadian scientist Frederick Banting, working in the laboratory of Professor John Macleod at the University of Toronto.
Together with a young medical student called Charles Best, Banting developed a method of extracting insulin from animal pancreases. At first they used extract from dogs, then they switched to cattle.
In 1921, Dr. Joseph Gilchrist, a friend of F. G. Banting, was the first human to receive pancreatic extract made by Banting and Best. It was administered orally and had no beneficial results.
In late 1921, a colleague of Banting's, James Collip a biochemist, was employed to purify the extract, making it suitable for injection.
Leonard Thompson, 14, severely ill with diabetes was the first person to be injected with insulin. The first injection took place on January 11, 1922 but had little effect. On January 23, he was injected with a purer insulin extract and his condition improved. He was treated regularly with insulin and lived another 13 years.
Banting and Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1923. Banting shared his prize money with Best, and Macleod shared his money with Collip.
By David Hay Jones