Friday, 10 April 2015

I is for insulin

14 Days To Live—He Dies 30 Years Later. (1954, March 31). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47565237
Until the early 1920s there was no generally effective treatment for diabetes. It was usually fatal. An Adelaide man named Clifford Cornish is said to have been the first patient in Australia whose life was saved by the use of insulin. He was treated by my great grandfather Trent de Crespigny (1882-1952).

Insulin and its application in treating diabetes in humans was pioneered in Toronto, Canada in 1921 - 22 by Frederick Banting. Research into the treatment of diabetes had been progressing in Germany and in Europe  in 1914 but was interrupted by the start of the Great War.  Professor T. Brailsford Robertson, based in Adelaide, had worked in Canada and was aware of the research by his friends and former colleagues in Toronto. He and a colleague made a small experimental supply of insulin from pigs in the Adelaide abattoirs and this was used to treat Mr Cornish.

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