FREDERICK BANTING Biography - Famous Medicine & health care related men and women


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FREDERICK BANTING                                                                           
Born: November 14, 1891                                                                     
Alliston, Ontario, Canada                                                                   
Died: February 21, 1941                                                                     
Newfoundland, Canada                                                                       
Canadian medical researcher and scientist                                                   
The Canadian medical scientist Frederick Banting was codiscoverer of insulin, a             
hormone that regulates the sugar in the blood and helps in the treatment of                 
diabetes (a disorder that causes the body to have difficulty maintaining a                 
healthy blood sugar level). Because of this discovery, Banting became the first             
Canadian to be awarded the Nobel Prize.                                                     
Frederick Grant Banting was born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada, on November 14,             
1891, to William Thompson Banting, a well-established farmer, and Margaret Grant           
Banting, who had moved to Canada from Ireland. The youngest of five children,               
Banting attended the local elementary schools before enrolling at the University           
of Toronto in 1911 in an arts course leading to theology (the study of religion).He         
decided, however, that he wanted to be a doctor, and in 1912 he registered as a             
medical student.                                                                           
With World War I (1914–18, a war in which German-led forces fought for European           
control) under way, Banting left college in 1915 to join the medical corps as a             
private (the lowest military rank). Doctors were urgently needed, however, and             
he was sent back to finish his studies, graduating in 1916. Banting was                     
commissioned (made an officer) in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and left           
for England, where he received exceptional surgical experience in several army             
In 1920 Banting moved to London, Ontario, and opened a medical office. One                 
evening he read an article dealing with new discoveries in fighting diabetes, a             
blood disorder. Banting's interest in diabetes stemmed from his school days when           
a classmate had died because of the disorder. This event affected him deeply,               
and now his mind eagerly looked for possibilities worthy of investigation.                 
Initiation of the insulin work                                                             
In 1920 Banting went to Toronto for an interview with the professor of                     
physiology (the study of life systems) Dr. J. J. R. Macleod (1876–1902). Banting         
described his ideas and his desire to investigate the fluids released by the               
pancreas, a gland located near the stomach. He begged for an opportunity to try             
out his theories in the laboratory, but Macleod refused, for he knew that                   
Banting had no training in research. Banting returned to Toronto several times             
to try to persuade Macleod. Finally, impressed by his enthusiasm and                       
determination, Macleod promised Banting the use of the laboratory for eight                 
weeks during the summer. Macleod knew that if Banting was to have any success,             
someone who knew the latest chemical techniques would have to work with him.               
Charles Best (1899–1978), completing courses in physiology and biochemistry (the         
study of biological processes), had been working on a problem related to                   
diabetes in Macleod's department. Banting and Best met and decided that work               
would begin on May 17, 1921, the day following Best's final examination.                   
Discovery of insulin                                                                       
The first attempts to produce a diabetic condition upon which to study the                 
effect of                                                                                                                                                                                     
In 1923 Banting received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with             
Macleod. With characteristic generosity he divided his share with Best. That               
year the university established the Banting and Best Department of Medical                 
Research with a special grant from the Ontario Legislature. In 1934 Banting was             
made a knight commander of the British Empire and the following year was elected           
a fellow (associate) of the Royal Society of London.                                       
Banting was killed in a plane crash on the coast of Newfoundland on February 21,           
1941, while on a war mission to England. Because of his research and                       
advancements, Banting has improved the lives of diabetics around the world.