Frederick Grant Banting was born on November 14, 1891, at Alliston, Ont., Canada. Educated at the Public and High Schools at Alliston, he later went to the University of Toronto to study divinity, but soon transferred to the study of medicine.
Earlier, however, Banting had become deeply interested in diabetes. The work of Naunyn, Minkowski, Opie, Schafer, and others had indicated that diabetes was caused by lack of a protein hormone secreted by the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.
To this hormone Schafer had given the name insulin, and it was supposed that insulin controls the metabolism of sugar, so that lack of it results in the accumulation of sugar in the blood and the excretion of the excess of sugar in the urine. Attempts to supply the missing insulin by feeding patients with fresh pancreas, or extracts of it, had failed, presumably because the protein insulin in these had been destroyed by the proteolytic enzyme of the pancreas.
The problem, therefore, was how to extract insulin from the pancreas before it had been thus destroyed.
While he was considering this problem, Banting read in a medical journal an article by Moses Baron, which pointed out that, when the pancreatic duct was experimentally closed by ligatures, the cells of the pancreas which secrete trypsin degenerate, but that the islets of Langerhans remain intact.
This suggested to Banting the idea that ligation of the pancreatic duct would, by destroying the cells which secrete trypsin, avoid the destruction of the insulin, so that, after sufficient time had been allowed for the degeneration of the trypsin-secreting cells, insulin might be extracted from the intact islets of Langerhans.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1923 for the discovery of insulin.
According to nobelprize