Frederik Banting

Frederik Banting

Canadian physiologist, Nobel Prize laureate, who obtained pure insulin in 1921
Date of Birth: 14.11.1891
Country: Canada

  1. Biography of Frederick Grant Banting
  2. Discovery of Insulin
  3. First Successful Treatment
  4. Nobel Prize and Legacy

Biography of Frederick Grant Banting

Frederick Grant Banting was a Canadian physiologist and Nobel laureate. Born on November 14, 1891, in Alliston, Ontario, Banting developed a passion for medical research at an early age. He attended the University of Toronto, where he studied medicine and graduated in 1916.

Frederik Banting

Discovery of Insulin

In October 1920, while working on developing a vaccine for diabetes, Banting made a breakthrough discovery. He found that by obstructing the secretion of digestive juices from the pancreas in dogs, the glandular cells would die while the islets remained intact, preventing the development of diabetes in the animals. This led Banting to believe that there might be an unknown factor in the pancreas that could lower blood sugar levels.

Frederik Banting

Banting shared his ideas with Professor J.J.R. Macleod, who initially dismissed them as absurd. However, Banting managed to convince Macleod to support his project. In the summer of 1921, Banting was given access to a university laboratory, an assistant, and ten dogs to conduct his experiments.

On July 27, 1921, Banting announced the successful isolation of insulin, initially referred to as "ayletin," in its pure form.

First Successful Treatment

After numerous successful trials with diabetic dogs, Banting and his team attempted the first injection of insulin on a human patient. On January 11, 1922, a 14-year-old boy named Leonard Thompson received the historic injection. Unfortunately, the first attempt was unsuccessful due to impure extract, leading to an allergic reaction and the suspension of insulin injections.

Undeterred, Banting and his team worked tirelessly in the laboratory for the next twelve days to improve the extract. On January 23, Leonard Thompson received a second dose of insulin, which was a resounding success. Not only were there no adverse effects, but the patient's diabetes stopped progressing.

Nobel Prize and Legacy

For his revolutionary discovery, Frederick Grant Banting was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1923. Initially, Banting was upset that his assistant, Charles Best, was not recognized alongside him. He even refused to accept the money that came with the prize. However, he eventually relented and shared his portion of the prize with Best.

The patent for insulin was sold to the University of Toronto for one dollar, and soon industrial-scale production of insulin began. Banting's discovery of insulin revolutionized the treatment of diabetes, saving countless lives worldwide. He continued to work in medical research and served as a mentor to future scientists until his untimely death in a plane crash on February 21, 1941. Banting's legacy in the field of medical science remains unparalleled.