National Treasure #9: Banting and Best

“Banting and Best” is a catchphrase from my school days, but of course there’s a little more to it than that, from additional collaborators to grievances about recognition.

In 1921, Dr. Frederick Banting persuaded a leading researcher in diabetes, Prof. John Macleod, to let him pursue a theory in how to treat diabetes. Working with Charles Best, a medical student, Banting developed an insulin extract and successfully treated dogs that they had given diabetes.

In 1922, Banting and Best successfully treated their first human patient, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson.

In 1923, Banting and Macleod won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Banting shared his cash prize with Best; Macleod shared his cash prize with another member of the team, Bertram Collip.

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This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.

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