eISSN: 2083-8441
ISSN: 2081-237X
Pediatric Endocrinology Diabetes and Metabolism
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vol. 28

100 years of therapy with insulin in Lower Silesia, Poland

Renata Wąsik
Aleksander Basiak
Ewa Barg

Pediatr Endocrinol Diabetes Metab 2022; 28 (2): 105–107
Online publish date: 2022/06/28
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The important contribution to the history of diabetology made by scientists from Wroclaw University (at that time Breslau) [1–13].
At 11 o’clock on 23 January 1922, insulin was given for the first time to a patient with diabetes, Leonard Thomson [12]. At that time outstanding scientists devoted to diabetology were employed (working) at Wroclaw University. They discovered the aetiology of type 1 diabetes and created the foundations of modern therapy for the disease. One of them was Prof. Oskar Minkowski. He was the discoverer of the aetiology of type 1 diabetes, and he called it pancreas diabetes. Oskar Minkowski was born on 13 January 1858 in Alexoto (Kaunas/ Kowno) Lithuania. In 1929, Prof. Minkowski established the relationship between the pancreas and diabetes, a critical milestone in understanding the aetiology of the disease. In collaboration with Mehring, he published “Investigation of Diabetes after Pancreatectomy” to demonstrate, using a canine model, that re-transplantation of fragments of a previously resected pancreas reverses symptoms of diabetes.
It therefore became evident that the pancreas secretes an anti-diabetic substance that regulates carbohydrate metabolism. As early as in 1888, Minkowski discovered acetone in the urine of diabetic patients and hence administered sodium bicarbonate to them. In 1909 he became the director of the outstanding Department (Clinic) of Internal Diseases at the Wroclaw (Breslau) University, where he worked with great satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment until his retirement in 1926. However, it took as long as 30 years before insulin was discovered by Banting and Best from Canada. In 1922, Prof. Minkowski received from Banting and Best the first vial of insulin, which he presented during his lecture to the students stating: “I have always hoped that I would be the father of insulin, but that dream did not come true. However, I am very pleased to learn that Banting and Best called me the grandfather of insulin.”
In 1923, Prof. Minkowski organized, for the first time in Germany, the Insulin Committee. With the participation of others, he supervised the production of the first batches of crystal insulin (Hoechst-Altinsulin), and the first German pancreatic extracts of insulin, commercially available as early as the end of 1923. The years 1888-1921, the period during which Minkowski discovered the role of the pancreas in diabetes and diabetology, were called the era of Minkowski. Prof....

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Minkowski, Stolte, Lublin, Wasik, insulin therapy

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