In the summer of 1921, 22-year-old surgeon Frederick Banting and student Charles Best began their research by removing the pancreas from dogs. In some animals, the researchers removed the pancreas, in others, they ligated the pancreatic duct and removed the gland after a while. Then the atrophied pancreas was placed in a hypertonic solution and frozen. Dogs with a removed pancreas and diabetes were injected with the substance researchers got after thawing. They have recorded a decrease in glucose levels in animals and an improvement in their health.
At the end of 1921, James Collip joined the team of researchers and obtained extracts of the islets of the pancreas that could be safely injected into the human body. It is an effective and non-toxic substance and was used in the first clinical trials.
First, Banting and Best tested the insulin they received themselves. As a result, both felt weakness, dizziness, but no toxic effects of the substance were noted.
And on January 11, 1922, they were given the first real patient, fourteen-year-old Leonard Thompson.
Read about him and this life-changing research in our next post.