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The First Hormone Therapy

In February 1922, the discovery of insulin led to the publication of “The Internal Secretion of the Pancreas.” This publication detailed a technique for synthesizing the hormone from an intact pancreas. By the spring of 1922, the two scientists had produced small amounts of insulin that were useful in the treatment of diabetes. In the meantime, the two researchers had received assistance and laboratory space from the Connaught company in North America, which subsequently became the primary manufacturer of insulin.

Insulin is said to be the father of hormone replacement therapy

The discoveries of insulin were not widely known until the early twentieth century, when Canadian researchers identified the substance. Charles Best, a graduate student at the time, was responsible for the discovery. The first successful application of insulin was made in Canada in 1922 on a patient with diabetes. In 1923, the demand for the medicine was so high, pharmaceutical companies began a rapid production program. Ultimately, they discovered that insulin was a hormone, which is what makes it the grandfather of hormone replacement therapies.


In the United States, the discovery of insulin is credited to the efforts of a team from the University of Toronto. Frederick Banting, J.J.R. Macleod, and James Collip were awarded the Nobel Prize. After they patented the technique, they sold the patent to the university for one dollar. In Europe, the first hormone therapy was approved in 1952 by the Food and Drug Administration.

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