On July 27, 1921 two Canadian scientists at the University of Toronto, Frederick Banting and Charles Best, successfully isolated insulin—a hormone they believed could prevent diabetes--for the first time. Within a year, the first human sufferers of diabetes were receiving insulin treatments, and countless lives were saved from what was previously regarded as a fatal disease. Diabetes has been recognized as a distinct medical condition for more than 3,000 years, but its exact cause was a mystery until the 20th century. At that time, the only way to treat the fatal disease was through a diet low in carbohydrates and sugar and high in fat and protein. Instead of dying shortly after diagnosis, this diet allowed diabetics to live--for
about a year. A breakthrough came at the University of Toronto in the summer of 1921, when Banting and Best successfully isolated insulin from canine test subjects, produced diabetic symptoms in the animals, and then began a program of insulin injections that returned the dogs to normalcy. On November 14, the discovery was announced to the world.
On January 23, 1922, they began treating 14-year-old Leonard Thompson with insulin injections. The diabetic teenager improved dramatically, and the University of Toronto immediately gave pharmaceutical companies license to produce insulin, free of royalties. By 1923, insulin had become widely available, and the scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine.
It is amazing to think that ALL of this happened in the last ninety years! And just think about all of the advancements we have seen during our lifetime! I am so thankful that I was born in the 20th century! I hope you count your blessings too!