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Diabetes Discoveries: past

Frederick G Banting with John Macleod

Before insulin was discovered in 1921, it was exceptional for people with type 1 diabetes to live for longer than a year or two. That was until Sir Frederick Banting, Charles Best, John Macleod and James Collip discovered insulin as a life-saving treatment for type 1 diabetes. Join us in exploring some of the stories and events that have followed from that significant milestone in scientific history.

One of the 20th century’s greatest medical discoveries, insulin remains the only treatment for people with type 1 diabetes today, and is used by millions of people with type 2, gestational and rarer types of diabetes. It has gone on to save millions of lives around the world, and triggered a century of diabetes discoveries.   

Read more about the key events leading up to and following the discovery of insulin in 1921. 

Read the story

Life with diabetes  

That everyone in the UK who needs insulin has access to it is one of the biggest scientific achievements of the last century. It’s far from a perfect treatment, but we’ve come a long way since its discovery in our understanding of all types of diabetes, and how to treat and manage it.  

Read more about the research we’ve funded for more than 80 years to change the lives of people living with diabetes.

Read about past diabetes discoveries

Hear below from some of the diabetes community to see how far we have come – and where we hope to go in the future.  

The insulin pen

Peter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over 65 years ago. Read his story to hear about his journey over the years and how changes in technology have helped him.  

The DiRect trial

Tony’s gone from taking 16 tables a day for his type 2 diabetes, to none. Find out how the DiRect trial we’ve funded helped him put his diabetes into remission. 

Read Tony's story

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