A Century of Diabetes Success: The Past as Prologue
In 1921, Canadian researchers demonstrated that insulin from cows could drop the blood glucose levels of a boy with diabetes to near-normal in a day. Soon, doctors were prescribing purified insulin to their patients with diabetes, kicking off a century’s worth of advances in pharmaceuticals and medical technology. But while those advances, from synthetic insulin to home glucose monitors to insulin pumps, have extended and improved the life of people with diabetes, it remains an epidemic and is the most common cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Now, diabetes researchers are innovating new ways to prevent diabetes from developing, building an artificial pancreas to stand in for the patient’s, protect the heart and kidneys, or even achieve the field’s holy grail: a cure.