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Insulin for Life

Diabetes
Delphine, January 11, 2013

Before the discovery of insulin (1921), people with diabetes were condemned to die. His discovery, due to the fine collaboration of F. Banting , C. Best and J. MacLeod , has since miracles saving through The World of thousands of people of certain death.
If insulin had not been discovered, I would not be there to write, and you diabetic to read me.


Since ancient times, Greeks and Egyptians knew diabetes. Diabetes same word comes from the Greek "pass through", a term which refers to sweet urine that had observed the Greeks in some patients.

What is insulin ?

Insulin is a protein produced and secreted by the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas. To keep it simple and short (the idea is not to make you a physiology course): insulin is the key that allows glucose (sugar =) to move from our blood to our cells. Without this key, the glucose remains at the gate in the blood; and cells (the coup, our bodies) lack energy. They will therefore draw where they can namely fat. All this, so says the main symptoms of the onset of type 1 diabetes: excessive thirst (to come dilute the excess sugar in our blood) - suddenly much urination, slimming (we draw our energy in fats), and fatigue. The type1 diabetes is a malfunction of the production of insulin, so we need (this is crucial) we administered via daily injections. Throughout the day, physiological insulin needs vary, and that one is diabetic or not. In late night, for example, insulin requirements are higher than in the beginning of night, which is explained by the interplay of hormones. One understands better then this glycemic bounce 'that can be observed in late night, and suddenly hyper wake. For us type1 diabetics, find our good basal insulin doses (= insulin basic needs) is our first challenge. The continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is a valuable aid for this first mission. At this first challenge, add our lives: the fact that it moves (more or less), we eat (more or less) and that we have emotions (more or less) that we 'ask' amounts different insulin. And sometimes the truth of a day is not that of the next day because everything plays on our blood sugar. In short, a daily challenge.

Insulin, its History

  • January 11, 1922 - The first injection of insulin to humans. The first injections of pancreatic extracts save Leonard Thompson, 14 year old boy diagnosed with diabetes at the stage of coma. This is a world first.
  • 1923 - The Nobel medicine prize is awarded to Banting and MacLeod. Banting shared with Best, MacLeod Collip. The same year, laboratories begin to produce insulin extracted from the pancreas of beef and pork, who have insulin very close to that of man.
  • 1935 - Developed by Fisher and Hagedorn insulin Protamine Zinc, first slow-acting insulin.
  • Development and commercialization in 1950 of Neutral Protamine Hagedorn, intermediate-acting insulin still widely used as the NPH or in préétaplies mixtures (or premix).
  • 1978 - The Eli Lilly laboratories successful cloning of the human gene for insulin, important step to produce insulin by genetic engineering.
  • 1980 - The pig insulin is humanized by altering the single amino acid which distinguishes human insulin.
  • 1982 - The first human insulin obtained by genetic engineering, appears on the market. Unlike insulin extracted from pancreas animals, this one is truly human insulin.
  • 1986 - The Novo Laboratories choose the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae rather than E. coli to express the human gene for insulin and the hormone obtain industrially.
  • Appearance in France of the new insulins whose structure has been modified to change their speed of action: fast analogues / fastest (1997) and slow like / Ultra Slow (2003).
    • And now we look forward to the "ultra high-speed" as the BioChaperone® Lispro of Adocia (French biopharmaceutical company specializing in the treatment of diabetes). To date, BioChaperone Lispro U100 has been successfully tested in four clinical trials.

      Insulin Administration

        Insulin can be administered either
      • via a pattern of multiple daily injections,
      • via an insulin pump. Today, there are several on the French market: Medtronic, Roche, Animas, Cell Novo and Omnipod. The last two being without tubing.
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