We're pumped!
Insulin
8.3m

people in the US require insulin

We're pumped!
Diabetes
84%

decrease in diabetes-related deaths after insulin discovery

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Lifestyle
58%

reduced risk of type 2 diabetes for people in lifestyle change programs

Joslin Diabetes Center is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin and the relentless dedication and selfless collaboration of scientists, caregivers, patients and donors. As we reflect on 100 years of advancements in the field of diabetes at Joslin, we look forward to what’s to come.

100 YEARS OF stories

Hear from Joslin leaders and supporters about the last 100 years of accomplishments at Joslin and learn more about our research that’s fueling the future of diabetes care.

Roberta Herman, MD

President and CEO, Joslin Diabetes Center

Reflecting on 100 years of advancements, Dr. Herman discusses the groundbreaking research that’s bringing us closer to a cure.

C. Ronald Kahn, MD

Chief Academic Officer, Senior Investigator

A disease with no treatment. Two unlikely heroes. Dr. Kahn takes us back in time to learn about insulin’s discovery and the ongoing fight to conquer diabetes.

Lori Laffel, MD, MPH

Chief, Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Section

Find out from Dr. Laffel how families’ willingness to participate in clinical trials has been integral to advancing diabetes treatment and care.

100 YEARS OF people

Advances in insulin’s 100-year story wouldn’t have been possible without the relentless dedication of scientists, doctors, caregivers, patients, educators and supporters. We’re honored to recognize them today and every day.

Elliot Joslin
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Founder of Joslin Diabetes Center, Elliott P. Joslin, MD, was the first physician in the United States to specialize in treating diabetes and achieved many “firsts” in the field. One distinctive characteristic of his groundbreaking approach to diabetes care?

His belief in what he called the troika: diet, exercise and insulin, which are all needed to successfully manage diabetes.

Elliott P. Joslin, MD

Priscilla White
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One of the founding members of Joslin Diabetes Center, Priscilla White, MD, revolutionized the field of diabetes management for pregnant women with both gestational and type 1 diabetes. She fought the prevailing opinion that women with diabetes should avoid pregnancy and instead advocated for adjusting medications and diet and closely monitoring women during pregnancy.

The White Classification of Diabetic Pregnancies is still used today.

Priscilla White, MD

Susan Bonner-Weir
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Susan Bonner-Weir, PhD, and her colleagues discovered a way to encourage pancreas cells that don’t normally produce insulin to become insulin-producing cells.

This pathway of pancreatic growth has important implications for understanding the mechanisms of response to injury and neoplasia of the pancreas and provides new insights into the pathogenesis of diabetes.

Susan Bonner-Weir, PhD

Emma and Sarah Sabourin
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In first grade, Emma Sabourin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She began the journey of day-to-day blood sugar management with help from her Joslin care team, parents and two sisters. This knowledge came in handy when, two years later, her sister Sarah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as well.

Despite the family’s increased challenges, the two sisters wake up each day thinking, “We got this!”

Emma and Sarah Sabourin

Sean Edmonds
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As a nurse educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, Sean Edmonds, RN, BSN, plans and conducts continuing education programs in diabetes for professionals and the general public.

He collaborates with other educators and providers to develop and implement programs and participates in the development of education curricula and materials.

Sean Edmonds, RN, BSN

Ernes and Nat Brody
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Erness and Nat Brody have supported Joslin since 1993. When Erness was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1992, she sought out the best possible treatment, which led her to Joslin. Aware of the disproportionate incidence of diabetes in the African-American population, Erness says, “It is one of the many reasons Nat and I are pleased to support Joslin.”

“As a 90-year-old woman, I credit my survival with type 1 diabetes to the excellent care I have received there.”

Erness and Nat Brody

100 YEARS OF milestones

Discover the major insulin-related milestones that have shaped Joslin’s past, present and future.

Researchers

1921

At the University of Toronto, researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best extract insulin from a dog’s pancreas and test its effect, bringing hope for the first time to people with diabetes.

Dr. Elliott

1922

Dr. Elliott P. Joslin oversees the administration of the first trial of insulin in New England.

Nobel Prize

1923

Dr. Frederick Grant Banting and Dr. John James Rickard Macleod win the Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin.

Long Acting Insulin

1934

A new type of long-acting insulin is given the first clinical trials in the United States.

Clinicians

1937

Joslin clinicians help fine-tune the use of the newly discovered long-acting insulin.

Molecules

1958

Frederick Sanger wins his first Nobel Prize for the sequencing of protein molecules. The first protein he sequences? Insulin.

Radioimmunoassay

1962

Using new radioimmunoassays to track the course of insulin through the body, Joslin researchers perform a range of studies on glucose metabolism.

Dr. William P. Beetham

1967

Joslin’s Dr. William P. Beetham and Dr. Lloyd M. Aiello treat diabetic retinopathy using the ruby laser, leading to the eradication of diabetic blindness.

DNA Technology

1982

Insulin is created using recombinant DNA technology, identical to the insulin produced by our bodies.

I Told You So

1993

Going against medical establishment, Dr. Joslin advocates tight glycemic control to prevent complications. His theory is proven right by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial Study.

Produce Insulin

2000

Joslin researchers discover a way to encourage pancreas cells that don’t normally produce insulin to become insulin-producing cells.

Nutrition

2005

Research shows that poor prenatal nutrition damages the function of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, raising the risk that the child will develop type 2 diabetes.

Metabolic Syndrome

2008

A Joslin study identifies insulin resistance in the liver as a key factor causing metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis, pinpointing a target for treatment.

Artery

2010

Joslin research shows insulin guards against artery damage and atherosclerosis, which are major causes of death in patients with diabetes.

Recognition

2015

Joslin receives the highest level of recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance as a Patient Centered Specialty Practice, the only organization in MA to receive this recognition.

Beta Cell

2017

The Center for Cell-Based Therapy is established at Joslin, to lead the development and translation of cell-based interventions to treat and cure diabetes and its complications.

DRC

2017

Joslin is awarded a Diabetes Research Center (DRC) grant from the NIH. Joslin has received NIH support for the last 31 years and is one of only 16 DRCs nationwide.

Mission

2021 and beyond

Joslin’s mission is to prevent, treat and cure diabetes. That means we will never stop pursuing the next breakthrough or envisioning a world free of diabetes and its complications.

100 YEARS OF research

Joslin is one of the few organizations in the world that is entirely devoted to diabetes research, education and care. Every day our researchers are bringing us closer to a cure we’ve all been striving toward.

120+

research papers generated per year

250

researchers in 30 different labs

288

IRB-approved studies

Genome Icon

Joslin has developed new core facilities for genome editing and CRISPR-based screening to advance diabetes research.

Exercise Icon

Identifying treatments that can improve exercise response in people living with diabetes is a top research priority for Joslin researchers.

Fat Cell Icon

Joslin scientists have discovered that a brown-like fat cell transplant could help treat obesity and diabetes.

Eye Icon

Joslin scientists have shown that eye imaging can help identify cognitive disorders in older people with diabetes.

Glucose Icon

A new artificial pancreas has been shown to better control blood glucose levels than current technology.

Microbiome Icon

Researchers are working to understand the role of the microbiome in the physiology of people with type 2 diabetes.

Join us as we recognize the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin and the people who have made Joslin’s ongoing advancements possible. With your support, we can and will create a world without diabetes, and we look forward to seeing what the next 100 years will bring.

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