The discovery and development of insulin saw Frederick Banting, a young doctor with no research experience, persuade a veteran Toronto researcher and doctor JJR MacLeod, to explore his unique idea regarding diabetes as a summer project in a University of Toronto laboratory. The lecture discusses the details of Banting and Best's subsequent strife-filled collaboration and the important role of a small American drug manufacturer named Eli Lilly, juxtaposed with the story of Elizabeth Hughes.
Elizabeth Hughes was diagnosed with diabetes in 1919 at the age of twelve. At that time, the best therapy for diabetes was Frederick Allen's starvation treatment, in which patients were put on a strict dietary regime-keeping them on a knife's edge between sugar poisoning and outright starvation. Allen's severe dietary restrictions were no cure for diabetes, but merely a stopgap measure, with the hope that it would enable patients to survive long enough for a diabetes cure to be found. Elizabeth Hughes was one of Allen's most famous patients, and one of the first for whom the starvation gamble paid off when insulin treatments began to be tested on human patients in 1922.
Arthur Ainsberg is a writer and a Wall Street executive. A veteran of the financial services industry, Mr. Ainsberg has served in senior management and consulting roles at Oppenheimer, Odyssey Partners, and Morgan Stanley. Mr. Ainsberg is a scholar on the Endurance, the early 20th century expedition to Antarctica by Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 2008, he published Shackleton: Leadership Lessons from Antarctica, and speaks and lectures frequently on the lessons of Shackleton's nearly twenty-two months at sea. Mr. Ainsberg was diagnosed in 1975 at the age of twenty-eight with Hodgkin's Disease, a time when doctors had only recently developed a method of treatment for the disease. His personal experience, combined with his love of history, led to his book: BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle, published in 2010.
Emily Miranker, MA
Team Administrator/Project Coordinator
The New York Academy of Medicine
1216 Fifth Avenue | New York, NY 10029