Celebrating 100 years of insulin

From simply injecting animal tissue extracts, to fitting patients with diabetes with an “artificial pancreas”, this infographic summarises the incredible story of insulin over the past century.
A photo of Iletin, the first insulin to be mass produced by Eli Lilly and Company under licence from the University of Toronto

The discovery of insulin in 1921 transformed the lives of people with diabetes, changing the diagnosis from a death sentence to living with a manageable long-term condition. Since then, insulin has evolved from a crude extract of animal pancreas to recombinant human insulin and insulin analogues, and the technology used to deliver it has also evolved, improving the lives of people living with the condition.

There are more developments on the horizon, too, including once-weekly insulins, oral insulins and so-called ‘smart insulins’ that respond to blood glucose levels, as well as implantable delivery devices and dual hormone pumps that deliver both insulin and glucagon.

You can view a PDF of the timeline here.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, November 2021, Vol 307, No 7955;307(7955)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.114002

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