THE DISCOVERY OF THE CENTURY





FREDERICK BANTING, CHARLES Best, and John Macleod made the breakthrough discovery of
insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921. They isolated insulin from the pancreases of cows and, with James Collip, found a way to purify it enough to administer it to the first patient in 1922.

 Leonard Thompson, a fourteen-year-old boy with type 1 diabetes, weighed only sixty-five pounds when he started insulin injections. His symptoms and signs rapidly disappeared and he immediately regained a normal weight. They quickly treated six more patients with equally stunning success. The average lifespan of a ten-year-old at diagnosis increased from about sixteen months

to thirty-five years!
Eli Lilly and Company partnered with the University of Toronto to commercially develop this revolutionary new drug, insulin. The patent was made freely available so the entire world could benefit from the medical discovery of the century. By 1923, 25,000 patients were being treated with injected insulin, and Banting and Macleod received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Euphoria ensued. With the momentous discovery of insulin, it was widely believed diabetes had finally been cured. British biochemist Frederick Sanger determined the molecular structure of human insulin, which garnered him the 1958 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and paved the way for the biosynthesis and commercial production of this hormone.
Insulin’s discovery overshadowed the dietary treatments of the previous century, essentially
throwing them into general disrepute. Unfortunately, the story of diabetes did not end there. It soon became clear that different types of diabetes mellitus existed. In 1936, Sir Harold Percival Himsworth (1905–1993) categorized diabetics based on their insulin sensitivity.

 He’d noted that some patients were exquisitely sensitive to the effects of insulin, but others were not. Giving insulin to the insulin-insensitive group did not produce the expected effect: instead of lowering blood glucose efficiently, the insulin seemed to have little effect. By 1948, Joslin speculated that many people had undiagnosed diabetes due to insulin resistance.

By 1959, the two different types of diabetes were formally recognized: type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes, and type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetes. These terms were not entirely accurate, as many type 2 patients are also prescribed insulin. By 2003, the terms insulin-dependent and non-insulin dependent were abandoned, leaving only the names type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The names juvenile diabetes and adult-onset diabetes have also been applied, to emphasize the distinction in the age of patients when the disease typically begins. However, as type 1 is increasingly prevalent in adults and type 2 is increasingly prevalent in children,
these classifications have also been abandoned.

THE DISCOVERY OF THE CENTURY THE DISCOVERY OF THE CENTURY Reviewed by Leembo on March 02, 2019 Rating: 5

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