Many times when we least expect it there is a past and present combination in diabetes. This week in our Clinical text we start a discussion on the idea of measuring in vivo insulin. It was back in 1925 when Banting and Best first gave insulin to reduce glucose levels. One of the interesting things the researchers found was that some patients did not respond, regardless of how much insulin they were given. These early researchers had no way to measure insulin but they actually thought patients were resistant, but had no way to prove it.
This whole idea was just a guess until Dr. Rosalyn S. Yalow won the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones. For the first time insulin secretion and values could be established, and this led to the pancreatic suppression test that you can read about in this week’s text.
As a side note, Dr. Yalow worked at the Bronx VA Hospital and she was a mentor to John Eng, a physician, who first discovered and then patented the first GLP-1 analog, which he found in “lizard spit.” To learn more about Dr. Yalow and Dr. Ing, and their work together click here.