How was insulin discovered?

In 1920, Dr. Frederick Banting investigated whether diabetes might be related to pancreatic function. Two years later, he tested an insulin extract on a 14-year-old boy with severe diabetes who was close to death. The boy responded well to the treatment, as did other volunteers. Banting found that adjusting blood glucose levels helped the insulin work more effectively. For the first time in history, doctors had a treatment for diabetes. In 1923, Banting was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine.

Continue Learning about Diabetes


Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.

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