Insulin – A Miracle Drug

Introduction to Insulin

Insulin is a drug most associated with diabetes and has proven to be a miracle drug for persons with diabetes. Improvements in insulin are made on a regular basis as new types arrive on the market and combinations of insulin and medication are blended into one injection.  At some time in the future some of these insulins will be used in a closed loop system where a continuous glucose meter and an insulin pump can communicate with each other and act like the pancreas in the body which is responsible for insulin secretion and normalization of glucose in the blood stream.

History of insulin

Insulin was first discovered in 1921, 100 years ago, by a young orthopedic surgeon named Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best.   In January 1922, a 14-year-old boy dying from diabetes in a Canadian hospital, became the first person to receive an injection of insulin. Within 24 hours, Leonard’s dangerously high blood glucose levels dropped to near-normal levels.  He lived a healthy life for 13 years dying of pneumonia at 26 years of age.  Insulin initially came from pigs (Novo Nordisk) and cattle (Eli Lilly and company).  In 1978 the first human, manmade insulin was synthesized by David Goeddel and his colleagues.  Only synthesized insulin is used today as they are less allergenic than animal insulins.

What is insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the Beta cells and stored in the pancreas; it is secreted into the bloodstream when the body senses the intake of food and begins to work when it encounters glucose or sugar from the food that is eaten.  Insulin can be endogenous or made by the body or insulin can be exogenous or manufactured. Individuals with diabetes may no longer make any insulin, make insufficient insulin, or can no longer use the insulin that is made.   Because of the different kinds of insulin, it can be administered by syringe, pen or pump.

Insulin Vial & Syringes
Insulin Pen