Since I come from a science background. I thought that this year for World diabetes day I would concentrate on one of the major breakthrough’s in diabetes. The breakthrough which stands out in my mind and is very close to my heart is the discovery of insulin by Dr Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Without this life changing discovery, let’s put it this way I probably wouldn’t be here today. I wanted to show my appreciation and write a post dedicated to these men.
Frederick Banting was a Canadian scientist, born on 14 November (World Diabetes Day) 1891 in Alliston, Ontario. His list of achievements stacks up high. In 1916, he received an M.B degree and was able to join the Canadian Army Medical Corps during World War 1. During the war, besides being wounded badly, he continued to help the sick and injured.
When the war ended in 1919 he returned to Canada and was awarded the Military Cross. He also became a medical practitioner for a short time. Until he returned to Toronto to study orthopaedic medicine.
1919-1920, he was resident surgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. He did this whilst continuing his general practice, teaching orthopaedics and anthropology part-time at the University of Western Ontario in London.
*The Insulin breakthrough*
In 1923, Frederick Banting along with his assistant Charles Best discovered how to extract insulin so that it could be used on patients suffering from severe diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). If you aren’t aware of the research you can have a look at the step by step documentation of the research carried out on http://link.library.utoronto.ca/insulin/timeline-frames.html
Dr Frederick Banting was presented with a Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1923 along with Dr. JRR MacLeod, Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto. His assistant and co-founder of insulin “Charles Best” was not recognised for the hard work he had contributed in the research. Dr. F Banting decided that he would share his award money with Best. According to the Nobel Prize,” as of September 2011, Banting, who received the Nobel Prize at age 32, remains the youngest Nobel laureate in the area of Physiology/Medicine.”
The Canadian government gave Banting a lifetime annuity to work on his research. Banting married Marion Robertson in 1924; they had one child, William (b. 1928). This marriage ended in a divorce in 1932. He was then knighted by King George the V in 1934 and became Sir Frederick Banting.
Banting and Best went on to work at the Banting and Best institute in the University of Toronto. Today this institute is known as the BBDMR. Dr. F Banting went on to work on other aspects of research such as, silicosis, cancer, and the mechanism of drowning and how to counteract it. In 1937 Banting married Henrietta Ball.
Dr F Banting reenlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II. There he severed as a liaisons officer between England and North America. In 1941, he was involved in an air crash and regrettably he met his demise.
I’ll be forever grateful to Banting and Best for their astounding breakthrough. This discovery has helped many people suffering with diabetes and is definitely the biggest breakthrough in my eyes in the diabetes world.
Words of Sir Frederick Banting:
“Insulin is not a cure for diabetes; it is a treatment. It enables the diabetic to burn sufficient carbohydrates, so that proteins and fats may be added to the diet in sufficient quantities to provide energy for the economic burdens of life.”