Charles Best, The co-discoverer of miracle drug “Insulin”

Insulin, the miracle drug for diabetes, was discovered by Frederick Banting and Charles Herbert Best in the year 1922.  Every year around 1.5 million patients are being diagnosed as diabetic in America. Only with insulin the drug, they are hopeful and lead their life in normal manner.

Charles Best was the co-founder of this wonderful drug. He was a medical scientist and a physiologist, born in 1899 in Maine and graduated in the University of Toronto, Canada. In between his studies, he joined in 2nd Canadian Tank Battalion and served for one year during World War I. When he returned back to his studies and was looking for summer project, he was assigned to work under Dr. Frederick Banting as a research assistant. Both of them, after a long struggle and a line of experiments, discovered the insulin drug. They were able to announce it in 1922 and in 1923 Frederick Banting was awarded with the Nobel Prize.

Co-discoverer of Insulin | Online Healthcare Information

Discovery Process:

Banting looked after the surgical procedures whereas Charles Best measured blood and sugar levels through chemical tests. In the surgical procedures done with the dogs, Banting tried to separate the pancreatic secretions. He removed the pancreas from the dogs and then injected the resulting extracts into them and found out that the dogs were alive till they received insulin injections.

From Dogs to Humans:

In their quest to find the right insulin extract, Macleod joined and directed them in the right path. He provided a better lab, animals to experiment and his valuable guidance for extract preparation.  They very soon switched over their experiments with dogs to calves and found better results by way of faster secretions. Then, they soon started their experiments with humans and began getting positive results. Their supply to humans started in 1922.

Insulin, the Life Source of Diabetes:

Diabetes was killing millions of people before the invent of insulin. Whatever best diet they took and whatever sugar supplements were taken to balance the insulin secretion in their body, they were able to prolong just a few more years in their life. Physicians were not able to find a way and handle the pancreases for two reasons. Because

- Pancreases produce digestive juices and

- They also produce the substance ‘glucose’ that regulates sugar content in the body.    

Only Banting and Best were able to solve this problem by tying the pancreatic ducts and stopped nourishment they were receiving. This made the pancreas to lose its ability to secrete digestive juices and enable the anti-diabetic extraction easy.

Nobel Prize:

In 1923, Nobel Prize was awarded to Banting and Macleod. Best was left out since he had not completed his medical degree. However, Banting shared the prize money with Charles Best. Later on, Best completed his medical degree and worked as Professor. He died on March 31, 1978.