January 11th, marks the 100-year anniversary of the first-ever injection of insulin administered. On this day, 100 years ago, Banting & Best administered the first injection of insulin to a young 14-year-old boy, Leonard Thompson with a two-year history of diabetes who was being kept alive essentially by starvation. Weighing just 65lbs, he was dull and listless and smelled of acetone (ketosis).
On January 11, 1922, Banting and Best took their extract to Ward H of Toronto General Hospital, and the first-ever injection of insulin was administered to Leonard Thompson by an intern. Leonard’s blood glucose fell from 440 to 320, but he developed a sterile abscess and further injections were cancelled. Further work was undertaken to purify the extract in a reproductive way and Leonard subsequently received an injection at 11 am on January 23rd, a second dose that evening, and then two injections the next day. His blood glucose became normal, and the ketones disappeared.
It is hard to describe the impact this must have had and the astonishment the doctors, nurse, and his parents must have felt when they witnessed such a seriously ill child coming back to full like and vigour.
Since then, we have seen many research findings which have improved the lives of millions of people with diabetes worldwide and research still continues today. In Ireland, the charity Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance, a subsidiary of Diabetes Ireland, has the specific aim of promoting, supporting, and funding research related to the causes, prevention, and cure of diabetes and into improvements in the management of the condition and its complications.
Mark this special anniversary by making a donation to Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance.
For further information on the history of insulin,
For further information on Diabetes Ireland Research Alliance,