Insulin – the life-saving discovery that changed the world 100 years ago


This year marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin, the first peptide hormone to be identified, by Sir Frederick G. Banting and Charles Herbert Best working in John Macleod's laboratory at the University of Toronto. The first recipient of the insulin they, and James B. Collip, isolated was Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old boy with diabetes, who in 1921 was seriously in the Toronto General Hospital. Insulin was the first protein to have its amino acid structure sequenced (by Frederick Sanger in 1951), with its solid-state crystal structure determined by Professor Dorothy Hodgkin in 1969 at the University of Oxford. It was also the first protein to be chemically synthesised, and to be produced by DNA recombinant technology.
Since the discovery of insulin, millions of people with diabetes have enjoyed longer lives than projected and experienced fewer complications of this condition. No wonder that it is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.
Multiple events are being held worldwide during 2021 to mark this special occasion, including the Insulin 100 Scientific Symposium at the University of Toronto under the auspices of a Programme Committee Chaired by Professor Dan Drucker. Twelve weeks of recorded presentations are already available, with live Meet the Experts sessions scheduled on April 15th and 16th, when any questions you may have submitted will be addressed.

[Access the symposium here]