November 2021

Insulin - a life-saving discovery

In the early 1920s, a team of Canadian researchers discovered the benefits of insulin for the treatment of diabetes.This groundbreaking discovery has since saved and improved the lives of millions of people around the world with diabetes. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, the majority living in low-and middle-income countries, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. Both the number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes have been steadily increasing over the past few decades.

One important factor for the efficacy of insulin in medication, is that it needs to be pure, to allow for diabetics to use it every day for their entire lives. Purity levels in insulin have improved steadily over the years, ultimately reaching purity of 99% by the mid-1970s due to breakthrough high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods.

When the first Kromasil® high performance silica products were introduced in the market more than 30 years ago, they greatly improved the effectiveness of liquid chromatography in full scale production. What made the new product so unique was the combination of high pore volume and surface area, together with a very high mechanical stability. This combination of properties in chromatography methods is unmatched in the market making the purification of insulin one of the biggest application areas for Kromasil products today.

Helping improve purity levels of insulin to treat diabetes is personal for some Nouryon employees.

“When I read about the history of insulin, I can really understand that this was seen as a miracle back in the 1920s. In 1919, my grandmother’s younger brother died of diabetes at the age of 15. The life expectancy of patients at that time was only 1-2 years after being diagnosed with the condition,” said Sara Mårlind, Marketing Communications Manager at Nouryon. “My son has type 1 diabetes and my mother has type 2 diabetes and it is good to know that the products Nouryon manufactures are helping to make medicines safer, and more effective. Having access to high-purity insulin can be the difference between life and death,” Sara added.

Insulin 100 years background

About diabetes – World Health Organization

World diabetes day - November 14

World Diabetes Day on the 14 of November is an official United Nations Day to increase the awareness of diabetes.

Learn more about our chromatography solutions

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