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Chemistry LibreTexts

18.0: Prelude to Amino Acids, Proteins, and Enzymes

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  • The 1923 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology was awarded to Frederick Grant Banting and John James Richard Macleod for their discovery of the protein insulin. In 1958, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Frederick Sanger for his discoveries concerning the structure of proteins and, in particular, the structure of insulin. What is so important about insulin that two Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work on this protein?

    Insulin is a hormone that is synthesized in the pancreas. Insulin stimulates the transport of glucose into cells throughout the body and the storage of glucose as glycogen. People with diabetes do not produce insulin or use it properly. The isolation of insulin in 1921 led to the first effective treatment for these individuals.


    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Insulin pump, showing an infusion set loaded into spring-loaded insertion device. A reservoir is attached to the infusion set (shown here removed from the pump). Image used with permission (Public Domain; User:David-i98 ).