Invention Of Insulin Essay

Later it was realized that structures in the pancreas called the Islets of Langerhans were involved, and that their secretion, if any, must pass directly into the blood instead of through the pancreatic duct.According to Banting's own story, as he later told it, he was trying to read himself to sleep with a medical article about the pancreas on Oct.

During the spring of 1921, Professor Bliss says, instead of waiting with ''gnawing impatience and mounting eagerness'' to start searching for the internal secretion of the pancreas, he was actually waiting for a reply to his application for a job as a doctor to an oil expedition. Professor Bliss used newly found and previously available records to reconstruct the research, day by day, experiment by experiment.

Banting and Best's experiments on dogs in the summer of 1921 were a crucial part of the discovery process, of course, but other breakthroughs came in December 1921 and January 1922, particularly when Collip learned how to purify the extract of pancreas.

However, the duct that carried the pancreatic secretions off to the body could be severed, but there would be no diabetes.

In fact, the whole pancreas could be transplanted within the animal, and if only a small part was retained, there would be no diabetes.

Macleod had spent the summer of 1921 vacationing in his native Scotland and returned, the story goes, to find that his assistants had discovered insulin.

The Nobel award to Macleod, therefore, was so surprising and controversial that Banting, to give credit where it was due, publicly divided his half of the money with Best.

According to accounts written much later, Macleod refused at first, then apparently relented. Macleod had become the quarterback of the team, turning the entire laboratory over to the search for insulin. But Best opposed it, as he later said, ''for obvious and selfish reasons.'' However, Banting persuaded Best to relent. But Banting thought Macleod was stealing credit by speaking in the first person plural. Once the team was satisfied that it had found something that effectively lowered the blood sugar of diabetic animals, the problem was to purify it for human use. Banting, obsessed with fears that Macleod and Collip were taking over the project and would deny him the credit, grabbed Collip, a much smaller man; according to Best, '' Collip was fortunate not to be seriously hurt.'' He continued, '' I can remember restraining Banting with all the force at my command.'' The first human trial was done in December 1921, not on Leonard Thompson but on Dr. An injection of extract prepared by Banting and Best failed, but a second, using Collip's extract, succeeded.

It was clear that the two young investigators needed help. The researchers' first scientific report was given at a meeting in New Haven in December 1921. Then, incredibly, Collip, a laboratory wizard with an instinctive skill at freehand chemistry, found he could no longer make the extract!

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996.

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

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