Friday, January 11, 2008

January 11th, 1922

I have been pondering in my head and praying on how to share our personal journey down the road of living with Juvenile Diabetes. As God has walked us along this path, I want to share humbly how grateful I am for lifesaving advances in medicine and technology that have allowed our son Carter to live a typical life and truly just be ALIVE because 100 years ago that would not have been the case. On one of the blogs I love to read, the following was flashing today and got my attention. As God has pulled on the strings of my heart, I decided that it was time to start writing about what God has taught us through this journey.
Insulin Is Used to Treat Diabetes (1922) In 1869, spurred by a medical student's observation of cells in the pancreas called "Islets of Langerhans," scientists began working to identify insulin's role in the body and to extract and purify it. Today scientists know that insulin is a hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and that patients with diabetes have a decreased ability to either produce or absorb it. What happened when a 14-year-old diabetic was given the first insulin injection in 1922?

January 11, 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old diabetic who lay dying at the Toronto General Hospital, was given the first injection of insulin. However, the extract was so impure that Thompson suffered a severe allergic reaction, and further injections were canceled. Over the next 12 days, Collip worked day and night to improve the ox-pancreas extract, and a second dose injected on the 23rd. This was completely successful, not only in not having obvious side-effects, but in completely eliminating the glycosuria sign of diabetes. Children dying from diabetic keto-acidosis were kept in large wards, often with 50 or more patients in a ward, mostly comatose. Grieving family members were often in attendance, awaiting the (until then, inevitable) death. In one of medicine's more dramatic moments Banting, Best and Collip went from bed to bed, injecting an entire ward with the new purified extract. Before they had reached the last dying child, the first few were awakening from their coma, to the joyous exclamations of their families. However, Banting and Best never worked well with Collip, regarding him as something of an interloper, and Collip left the project soon after. Over the spring of 1922, Best managed to improve his techniques to the point where large quantities of insulin could be extracted on demand, but the preparation remained impure. The drug firm Eli Lilly and Company had offered assistance not long after the first publications in 1921, and they took Lilly up on the offer in April. In November, Lilly made a major breakthrough, and were able to produce large quantities of purer insulin. Insulin was offered for sale shortly thereafter.
This Day in History provided by The Free Dictionary

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