Nov. 14, 1921 Happy Insulin Day

A proud anniversary for Canada:

Accompanied by his colleague Charles Best, on Nov. 14, 1921, Banting presented the results of roughly seven months of diabetes experiments to the Journal Club of the University of Toronto’s Department of Physiology. The pair had discovered an “active pancreatic extract” that would come to be known as “insulin” and, although it hadn’t been tested on humans yet, their experiments with dogs suggested this would be a successful treatment and significantly extend the lives of diabetics.

A few months later, when the discovery was made more public, it was front-page news in the Toronto Star, which ran a story on March 22, 1922, under the banner headline “Toronto Doctors on Track of Diabetes Cure—Diabetes Sufferers Given Message of Hope.”

Type 1 Diabetes, (although not clearly distinguishable from Type 2 at the time) was a death sentence to the children with the disease.

Complain as we will, we have something to be grateful for.

Happy Insulin Day!


Yes, I am grateful that insulin was discovered before my time. If I had been born 100 years earlier, my life would have been cut short by more than half.

For many years, I’ve understood that the historical connection between diabetes and insulin and November 14 was that this is Banting’s birthday. Is it just a happy coincident that this key academic presentation occurred on Banting’s birthday?