Toronto’s 7th Gift to the World


Millions around the world owe their lives to this discovery by two Canadian scientists named Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Dr. Charles Herbert Best. Discovered in the unusually hot summer of 1921 at the University of Toronto, insulin has prolonged the life of countless individuals worldwide.

Though not a cure, it gives diabetics hope for a longer life. Before the discovery of insulin, individuals with diabetes died within months of diagnosis. Today, with proper diet along with regular exercise and proper use of insulin, those living with diabetes could live decades after being diagnosed.

Though Banting and Best are best known for this discovery, it was a team effort. Dr. Bertram Collip and John J. R. MacLeod joined Banting and Best during the refining process, after the initial discovery. Their contributions allowed for the extraction of a purer form of insulin from the pancreas of calfs. Tests were initially performed on dogs until this purer form was found.

In a cold day in January of 1922, a sickly Toronto teenager named Leonard Thompson became the first documented person to receive a shot insulin. From that first day, insulin spread all around the world with the help of its discovers and the University, who licensed it to pharmaceutical companies, royalty-free.

In the following year, 1923, Banting and and MacLeod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Since then, these men have been honoured many times over, having numerous buildings and foundations named after them–from the U of T’s own Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, to the The Sir Frederick Banting Foundation, and even to a tiny Toronto elemenatary school not a five minute walk away from where this was written:

Banting and Best Public School

Banting and Best Public School

Sources and More Info:

2 Comments so far

  1. talk talk talk (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 12:26 pm

    I wonder how many universities today would license their life-altering discoveries royalty-free, especially in an era where Americans are trying to patent life forms?

    Good article!!

  2. arvin (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 10:30 pm

    I can probably count on one hand the number of universities who would be so generous.

    By the way, I’m trying to patent the house hippo, like the ones in the commercial. I can see a market in those cute little guys…

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.