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Sir Frederick Grant Banting

Ever wonder about one of the men who invented insulin? Well here is a report I wrote on him for my 8th grade science class (I got an A+ on it!) (so that was umm... 1997)

Sir Frederick Grant Banting was born on November 14, 1891 an died on February 21, 1941. He was born in Alliston, Ontario. A childhood friend of his died of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, which may have had an influence onhis career choice. He considered becoming a minister, but realized that he really wanted to work in the medical field. In 1912, he entered the University of Toronto Medical School.

While preparing a lecture on the pancreas and carbohydrate metabolizm in 1920, he found out that not much was known about the pancreas or diabtes. At two in the morning, Banting thought of an experiment. He would bind the pancreatic part carrying insulin into the duedenum. That might result in someone being left with only one part of their pancreas.

Banting went to see Dr. F. R. Miller at Western University with his theory. Miller told Banting to go see Dr. J. J. R. Macleod. Macleod wasn't fond of the theory. Banting went back to London and discussed his choices with Miller again.

Banting met Macleod again. He still didn't seem to like Banting's ideas but assigned Charles Herbert Best to work with him. Macleod agreed to let them have some lab space at the University of Toronto.

Banting and Best began their experiment on dogs with cat guts. They waited about seven weeks until they opened the dog's stomach to see if the pancreas shrunk in size. Since it did not, they repeated the experiment on July 30. Banting and Best noticed the pancreas in the dog had shrunk this time. They grouded up the pancreas and injected it into the same dog. The dog had all the signs of diabetes before the substance was injected, but afterward the signs decreased.

Banting and Best went to see Macleod with their theory and experiment. macleod let them stay in Toronto and work.

Banting and best were the first human guinea pigs to inject ten units of the substance, called insulin, into each others arms. They suffered no affects. On January 11, 1922, they gave a fourteen year old boy who was about to die of diabetes some insulin. They gave the boy insulin for ten days. After that he looked and felt better than he did before. When they stopped giving the boy insulin, he started to have all the symptoms of diabetes again

Another early patient was a classmate of Banting's, Dr. Joseph Gilchrist. He volunteered himself to use for the experimental purposes. He developed diabetes oversease and controlled it by diet. A few years later he got influenze and all the sypmptoms of diabetes reoccurred. Banting gave him a shot of insulin and within two hours his symptoms decreased. Dr. Gilchrist was the first person to experience an overdose of insulin.

All of Banting and Best's patients insulin doses were given on a trial and error basis because each person's dose, they found, varied. Many tests were done to find out what each person's dosage should be at certain times.

At Toronto General Hospital a child was in diabetic coma. The doctors wanted to see if insulin could bring him out of a coma so they gave the child insulin. The child came out of the coma and started to feel better. Then there was a problem. The insulin suppply ran out. There ws no insulin left. Because of that, the child went back into a coma and died.

Banting and Best presented a two day speech on insulin on December 28, 1921 at the American Physiological Society meeting in New Haven, Connecticut. Elliot P. Joslin, a well respected diabetes specialist, who Banting admired, thought their speech was very god. Joslin thought his dream came true, there was now a way to treat diabetes.

Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis agreed to produce insulin on May 22, 1922. When Eli Lilly and Company started to produce the insulin, they supplied some diabetic specialists with a few bottles of free insulin to use on their patients.

In 1923, the Nobel Prize was awarded to Banting and Macleod. Banting thought it was unfair that Best wasn't awarded for his work in the discovery of insulin, so Banting split his $40,000 prize with Best. Hearing that, Macleod decided to split his money with J. B. Collip.

Banting took off for Gander, New Foundland on February 20, 1941. The plane he was on crashed and he died.

Many children and adults depend on insulin. If it wasn't for Banting's discovery, I probably would not be here today. I've had insulin dependant diabetes for twelve years (dx'ed 1985). People with insulin dependant diabetes are usually diagnosed as a child and take insulin injections or are on an insulin pump. Non-insulin dependant diabetes occurs in overweight people over the age of forty. It is controlled by diet and/or pills, but some take insulin injections.

Insulin is a protein that has 51 amino acid residues. There are two chains connected by disulfide bridges. Insulin is a recombinant-DNA. In 1982, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the usage of insulin derived from a pig's pancreas. Now there are more companies that produce insulin.

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