Insulin is a hormone which is produced in an area in Langerhans in the pancreas. The levels of insulin in the human body control the rate of carbohydrate metabolism as well as the capacity of the liver to manufacture fat. Insulin is injected in the human body, and is effectively used to treat various forms of diabetes mellitus.
The invention of insulin was the brainchild of J.J.R. Macleod and Fredrick Banting who were studying at the University of Toronto.
Oscar Minkowski, a German-Polish physician, was the founding father of the thesis on the role of the pancreas in digesting food. Fredrick Banting joined J.J.R Macleod at the University of Toronto in 1921, and they both obtained insulin from the pancreas of the dogs. Fredrick was assisted by a medical student George Best. Fredrick and Best were responsible coining the name isletin to the newly formulated protein.
Macleod, along with a biochemist named James Collip, sanitized the protein to make it conducive for human testing. History was written on January 11, 1922 when a fourteen year old diabetic patient named Leonard Thompson was given the first injection of insulin.
Macleod and Banting were felicitated with a Nobel Prize for medicine in 1923 for their revolutionary discovery. Both Macleod and Banting went on to share their award with Collip and Best respectively as these two men also helped them to invent artificial insulin.
Today, thanks to these great scientists, diabetic patients can lead a near-normal life. Of course, over the years, the insulin production has been refined, and other sources for making insulin are being used.
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