I love November because we get to celebrate National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day on November 14th, which is Dr. Banting’s Birthday.
Over one hundred years ago, two researchers kick-started the production of insulin, making it available for worldwide use and saving millions of lives. Now, that’s a real cause for celebration. The discovery of insulin by Banting, Best and team was no easy feat. They encountered resistance, setbacks, and failures.
Dr. Banting secured space to test out his theory at the University of Toronto during a hot summer in 1921.
Along with his colleague, Charles Best, and a bare-bones lab, they conducted dozens of experiments on dogs. Marjorie (dog 408) lived for 70 days without a pancreas due to receiving life-saving insulin injections.
This success was replicated in other experimental dogs and ultimately provided the first step toward producing insulin from pig and cow pancreases.
In 1922, children with type 1 diabetes started receiving early doses of this newly available life saving hormone. Leonard Thompson, was the first recipient in January 1922, followed by many thereafter. Here is a heart breaking then uplifting photo of J.L., who after 2 months of receiving insulin, transformed into a healthy young boy.
To learn more about the Discovery of Insulin and download historical slides Click here!
For the month of November: