Friday, June 28, 2013

Toronto scientist and their dogs discover smarter inventions than Einstein: Discovery of Insulin

Some scientist who have made discoveries that have changed the world have discovered formulas that destroy things or formulas that give reason and evidence to the existence and method of things that happen. Scientist from Toronto, Canada along with man’s best friend, have discovered a medicine that has forever changed mankind to be able to live longer.  The invention is “Insulin” and the scientist were Dr. Frederick Banting, Charles Best, biochemist Bertram Collip, Professor John Macleod at the University of Toronto of Toronto, Canada, German physiologist Oskar Minkowski, physician Joseph von Mering, German medical student, Paul Langerhans, and their dogs.

Insulin is a medicine made up of peptide hormone, produced by beta cells of the pancreas. It is a naturally-occurring. It’s a hormone made in the islet cells in the pancreas. Insulin is required by the cells of the body in order for them to remove and use glucose from the blood. From glucose the cells produce the energy that they need to carry out their functions. Insulin acts like a key that opens the door for the food (glucose) to leave your bloodstream and get into your cells when your pancreas no longer makes any insulin or the insulin you have naturally inside of your body doesn't work. Without insulin to unlock the door for glucose, glucose can't get into your cells and since the cells can't get any food (glucose), they starve for energy while glucose builds up in your blood, increasing the sugar level in the blood and becoming a danger to the body.  This condition is called “hyperglycemia” and can be very dangerous.  The symptoms of hyperglycemia is having to urinate a lot, being extremely thirsty, exhaustion, weakness, blurry or unclear vision, or an appetite of being hungry immediately after a meal.

When blood glucose gets too high for too long, the body will start to make “ketones”. Ketones are very bad for the body.  Ketones are produced when the body burns fat for energy or fuel. They are also produced when you lose weight or if there is not enough insulin to help your body use sugar for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood. Since the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it breaks down fat instead. When this occurs, ketones form in the blood and spill into the urine. These ketones can make you very sick and can cause Diabetic Ketoacidosis or DKA. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition causing the chemical imbalance metabolic acidosis.

These conditions can now be treated since two scientist and their dogs from Toronto, Canada, had the focus and the drive to proceed with their experiments until they developed a form of insulin that could be marketed to the health care industry and assist in the treatment of diabetes.  Banting and Best, the two who strived and accomplished the discovery of insulin were so modest and heroic that Banting, and the rest of their team patented their insulin extract but gave away all their rights to the University of Toronto, which would later use the income from insulin to fund new research. It was the medical firm Eli Lilly who decided to start large-scale production of the extract and in 1923, the firm was producing insulin and supplying the entire North American continent.

The name “Insulin” came from the German medical student that first researched and observed the need for the extract of this extract from the hormone secreted by the pancreases beta cells. As early as 1869, Paul Langerhans, found that within the pancreatic tissue that produces digestive juices there were clusters of cells whose function were eventually shown to be the insulin-producing beta cells. Paul Langerhans also made the first careful and detailed description of the microscopic structure of the pancreas. He described nine different types of cells including small, irregularly shaped, polygonal cells without granules. These cells were given the name “ Islets of Langerhans” also known as “Insulin”.

In 1889 in Germany, physiologist Oskar Minkowski and physician Joseph von Mering decided to further research on how to solve the condition of diabetes that was killing most of its victims by starvation. First they started by removing the pancreas from a dog, and concluding that the animal got diabetes. Next, the duct through which the pancreatic juices flow to the intestine was surgically tied off so the juices couldn't reach the intestine. The dog developed minor digestive problems but no diabetes. The two realized that the pancreas has two functions. One function of the pancreas is to produce digestive juices and the other is to produce a substance that regulates the sugar glucose. They figured out that internal secretion was the key. They decided to isolate the substance to solve the diabetic condition.

It wasn’t until October 1920 in Toronto, Canada, that Dr. Frederick Banting, a surgeon with a bachelor's degree in medicine, had the idea that the pancreatic digestive juices could be harmful to the secretion of the pancreas produced by the islets of Langerhans. He decided that he would be able to produce a syrum by building on the ideas of physiologist Oskar Minkowski and physician Joseph von Mering.  Following their steps in great detail, Banting decided that if he tried to stop the flow of nourishment to the pancreas, this would cause the pancreas to degenerate, making it shrink and lose its ability to secrete the digestive juices. The cells thought to produce an antidiabetic secretion could then be extracted from the pancreas without being harmed. Banting took his idea to Professor John Macleod at the University of Toronto, who was a leading figure in the study of diabetes in Canada. Professor Macleod decided to give Banting a laboratory with a minimum of equipment, ten dogs and an assistant, a medical student by the name of Charles Best. The experiment began in the summer of 1921.

Working on a dog they removed the pancreas, sliced it up, and froze the pieces in a mixture of water and salts. When the pieces were half frozen, they were ground up and filtered. The extract was injected into the diabetic dog. Its blood glucose level dropped, and it seemed healthier and stronger. By giving the diabetic dog a few injections a day, Banting and Best could keep it healthy and free of symptoms of diabetes. They started using pancreases from cattle and managed to produce enough extract to keep several diabetic dogs alive. Using whole fresh pancreases from adult animals worked just as well.

The first diabetic person to be healed with insulin was a 14-year-old boy, Leonard Thompson in January 1922 in Toronto, Canada. Thompson was near death, at the time when the insulin was to be applied. After receiving his medicine dosage, the teen rapidly regained his strength and appetite. The team now expanded their testing to other volunteer diabetics, who reacted just as positively as Leonard to the insulin extract.

Building on the ideas of another and focusing to bring the solution to a problem in a physical form helped many people on the planet to live longer, more enriched lives. This is just a brief history of the discovery of Insulin. There are many sources to find out more about this Nobel Peace Prize winning medical achievement. Check out sites like Nobel Peace prize org @ . For tips to assist with diabetes and diets, check out sites like the American Diabetes Association @ .