Insulin: The discovery that transformed diabetic care May 26, 2022

from The Forum· ·

The story of the discovery and development of insulin is a tale full of twists and turns, Nobel prizes and fierce rivalries. Scientists in the late 19th Century established the connection between the pancreas and diabetes, isolated the hormone insulin, and even patented the extract that lowered blood sugar. But it was not until a Canadian team published results in 1922 of their attempts to inject insulin into a patient that diabetes was transformed from a fatal condition to a manageable one. Bridget Kendall is joined by science historian Dr Alison Li, who has studied the life of one of …



The story of the discovery and development of insulin is a tale full of twists and turns, Nobel prizes and fierce rivalries. Scientists in the late 19th Century established the connection between the pancreas and diabetes, isolated the hormone insulin, and even patented the extract that lowered blood sugar. But it was not until a Canadian team published results in 1922 of their attempts to inject insulin into a patient that diabetes was transformed from a fatal condition to a manageable one. Bridget Kendall is joined by science historian Dr Alison Li, who has studied the life of one of insulin's early pioneers in her book J.B. Collip and the development of medical research in Canada; Dr Viktor Joergens, a retired diabetologist who for more than two decades was the executive director of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. He is also the co-author of Unveiling Diabetes: Milestones in Diabetology; and Dr Kersten Hall, visiting fellow in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds, and the author of Insulin - The Crooked Timber: A History From Thick Brown Muck to Wall Street Gold. Producer: Fiona Clampin (Photo: Charles Herbert Best, Canadian physiologist who assisted Frederick Banting to isolate Insulin, in his laboratory. Credit: Universal History Archive/Getty Images)