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Celebrating 100 Years of Insulin

Lilly Canada  | May 18, 2021

Tags |  Caring

2021 marks the 100 th anniversary of the discovery of insulin – the first life-saving treatment for diabetes.

Before the discovery of insulin, the lives of people with diabetes were cut short.

In 1921, researchers from the University of Toronto had a scientific breakthrough that transformed the treatment of diabetes forever – the discovery of insulin for therapeutic use.

Join Us in Celebrating 100 Years of Insulin

The 100 th anniversary of this incredible discovery starts in 2021 and Lilly— the first company to commercialize insulin, in 1923— is commemorating this milestone by recognizing the work of researchers, advocates, and people living with diabetes.

To commemorate this milestone, we are reminded and inspired by the life of Leonard Thompson, the first person with diabetes to be successfully treated with insulin in 1922 when he was just 14 years old.

Since then, developments in insulin have come a long way. We are proud to recognize the progress made in insulin development over the last century – and the advancements yet to come – while also honouring the bravery of Leonard and millions of others whose lives were forever changed by insulin.

Named for Leonard Thompson, this centennial prize is not just about celebrating past achievements — it’s about recognizing strides made in the development of insulin and other diabetes treatments and using them as inspiration to persevere. We look forward to celebrating many stories of courage.

The Leonard Prize – Celebrating 100 Years of Innovation in Diabetes Care

2021 marks the 100 th anniversary of the discovery of insulin, and Lilly is commemorating the centennial milestone by recognizing diverse champions dedicated to advancing diabetes management. The Leonard Prize will be awarded in five $20,000 (US) grants to Life For a Child, which is an international diabetes initiative that supports children with diabetes in more than 43 countries. One winner will be chosen from each of five categories:

  • Teen/young adult: 18- to 25-year-old living with diabetes or with a strong personal connection to someone impacted by diabetes

  • Advocate/advocacy professional: Active advocate for people with diabetes, either through personal channels or with an established organization

  • Endocrinologist/primary care physician: Healthcare professional specializing in endocrinology or serving as a primary care physician to people with diabetes

  • Diabetes educator/nurse: Diabetes educator and/or nurse specializing in the care of people with diabetes

  • Researcher: Research professional dedicated to research in the field of diabetes care (therapeutics, technology or otherwise)

How to Nominate Someone

From mid-2021 through September 2021, you can nominate someone you know who is making a difference in the diabetes community by visiting this page and completing the online submission form.

Our Commitment to Insulin Advancement and Access

Addressing the impact of diabetes has been at the heart of our purpose for a century and advancing insulin therapy is a hallmark of our business. Two years after Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin for the treatment of humans, Lilly manufactured and brought the first commercial insulin, Iletin, to market.

The widespread manufacturing of insulin came with challenges, but Lilly continued to persevere in our commitment to provide solutions for people with diabetes.