Picture of the Day: January 23 | HistoryNet MENU

Picture of the Day: January 23

6/12/2006 • Picture of the Day


The Discovery of Insulin
Following the birth of an idea and nine months of experimentation, and through the combined efforts of four men at the University of Toronto, Canada, insulin for the treatment of diabetes was first discovered and later purified for human use. Rural Canadian physician Dr. F.G. Banting first conceived the idea of extracting insulin from the pancreas in 1920. He and his assistant C.H. Best prepared pancreatic extracts to prolong the lives of diabetic dogs with advice and laboratory aid from Professor J.J.R. Macleod. The crude insulin extract was purified for human testing by Dr. J.B. Collip. On January 23, 1922, the first successful test on a human patient with diabetes occurred when insulin was administered to dangerously ill Leonard Thompson. Insulin, now made from cattle pancreases, lifted the death sentence for diabetes sufferers around the world.

Image: Banting House National Historic Site

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