Anyone who has read an account of Banting and Best’s discovery of insulin will know that they worked their guts out to come up with a cure for us diabetic hoards. Many dogs gave their lives for diabetic research – having their pancreases ligated allowing their pancreases to atrophy – leading to their untimely and grisly deaths.
James Collip worked himself almost to madness to purify the secretions Banting and Best made, while at the same time JJR Macleod laboured tirelessly with the research laboratories at Eli Lilly to make insulin available on a scale that made it commercially viable and available to grateful diabetics the world around. For their efforts Banting and Macleod won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1923.
Since then researchers and pharmaceutical companies have poured millions of pounds and countless hours of work into new insulin analogs, so creating wondrous new insulins including technically advanced biosynthetic human recombinant analogues and shifted isoelectric point insulins.
Modern insulin – the culmination of years of research and labour and sweat and tears – is now available in plentiful supply at a reasonably affordable price throughout most of the world.
So what do we do with it when we get it?
Yes, that’s right, shove it in the fridge in an old cheese box next to a jar of mouldy pickled onions and some posh French mustard.
Poor old Banting must be turning in his grave.