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Frederick Banting Biography Essay

1259 words - 5 pages

While reminiscing about the 1920's, you cannot help but remember the one man who made that a defining decade in Canadian history, the co-discoverer of insulin, Sir Frederick Grant Banting. Banting was born on November 14th, 1891 in Alliston, Ontario to William Thompson Banting and Margaret Grant. He was the youngest of six children and was educated at the public and high schools at Allison. He was not the brightest kid in the class and dropped out of school at a young age to help with the family farm. He later went on to continue his education at Victoria College in the field of General Arts but failed and went on to University of Toronto to again try the arts. However, he soon switched to medicine and graduated in 1916. After graduating, he served in the Canadian Army Medical Corps in World War I where he was wounded but declined amputation and persisted upon helping people. His bravery earned him a Military Cross. Banting wanted to be a surgeon and opened up a small clinic in London, Ontario. However, it was not as succesful as Banting envisioned and he only made $4. He was then offered a job teaching medicine at University of Western Ontario. On the night of October 31st, 1920, during his routine reading of articles of medical journals, Banting found something interesting in the journal, Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetric. The article he read changed the way thought forever.In the journal, Banting read a story on pancreas and he quickly recorded something in his journal. Fascinated by his idea, he left London for Toronto. He presented his idea of isolating an internal secretion of the pancreas to treat diabetes to the professor of physiology at University of Toronto, J.J.R. Macleod. Macleod allowed Banting to test his theories and presented him with a lab and an assistant, a young graduate student, Charles Best. There was no pay and the conditions were horrible but Banting was determined to find a cure for the disease. Banting and Best decided to test his theory on dogs first. At first, the results were disappointing but Banting was relentless. After many alterations to his initial theory, and countless dogs later, they were successfully able to stabilize diabetic dogs and were ready to try their method calves and cows. At this time, Macleod and a new helper, chemist James Bertram Collip began helping Banting and Best in their efforts. After months of research and experiments, the team was able to find a useful extract, named insulin. In 1922, a 14-year-old boy, Leonard Thompson, suffering from diabetes showed noticeable a recovery after becoming the first person to be treated with insulin. Numerous other patients who were previously presented with hopeless prognoses showed rapid improvement after being injected with the new drug.Although Banting did not pursue the insulin discovery dream for fame and fortune, he certainly got a lot of it. In 1923, Banting and Macleod were nominated for and awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology. Banting was...

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