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Freeze dried pig pancreas, Europe, 1994

Canadians Frederick Banting (1891-1941), a surgeon and physiologist, and Charles Best (1899-1971), a physiologist, first isolated insulin in 1921. Produced in the pancreas, insulin is required to control blood sugar levels in the body. Banting and Best found that pig insulin was similar to human insulin and could be used to help people with diabetes. Pig pancreases were ground up in large numbers to extract insulin. Since 1982, insulin has been made from bacteria genetically modified in the laboratory to produce human insulin.

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    Glossary: pancreas

    No description.

    Glossary: diabetes

    This term refers to any form of metabolic disorder characterized by extreme thirst and excess urine production.

    Glossary: insulin

    A hormone that causes the body's cells to take up glucose from the blood. (Diabetes is the loss of control of the body's levels of insulin.)