Medicine: Insulin at 25

In pre-insulin days, diabetics had two alternatives: eat well and die tomorrow, or live on a starvation diet and die by inches. Then one day in 1920 Frederick Banting, a young research M.D. at the University of Toronto, wrote in his notebook: "Tie off pancreatic duct of dogs. Wait six to eight weeks. . . . Remove residue and extract." Months later, Banting and Charles Best, a medical student assisting him, announced the isolation of insulin, the sugar-controlling hormone of the pancreas that gives diabetics—people whose bodies cannot use up their sugar intake—a new...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!