However, the duct that carried the pancreatic secretions off to the body could be severed, but there would be no diabetes.
In fact, the whole pancreas could be transplanted within the animal, and if only a small part was retained, there would be no diabetes.
'' They badly needed Macleod's advice.'' Professor Bliss dispels the notion that Macleod set Banting and Best to work and then left town for his holidays.
Macleod had worked for a month before he left, had gone through the technical problems with Banting and Best, had given fairly explicit parting instructions and corresponded through the summer.
Macleod's riposte was to share his half with J. Collip, a young biochemistry professor who joined the research team in December 1921.
The real story was much more complex - and perhaps less inspired - than suggested by conventional accounts.Macleod, too, deserved at least as much credit as anyone has been willing to give him.'' On their own, Banting and Best were not experienced and knowledgeable enough to have carried their work through to a successful conclusion,'' Professor Bliss says.However, the cautious Macleod insisted on additional experiments to exclude the possibility that the effects attributed to insulin were actually a result of some independent factor.Banting's Threat to Leave A few days later, Banting, whom Best described as ''frothing at the mouth,'' threatened to take his research to the Mayo Clinic or Rockefeller Institute if he did not get assistance. But with Macleod's permission he refused to share it with Banting and Best. First Injections of Insulin The first injections were given to Leonard Thompson in January 1922.He would tie off the pancreatic ducts of dogs, wait for the gland to degenerate from disuse, and then make an extract of the remaining tissue.' Maddeningly Vague' Plan But according to Professor Bliss, Banting, who had never treated a diabetic, was ''maddeningly vague'' in recalling exactly what his research proposal to Macleod had been.As many as 400 researchers had tried to find what Banting and Best sought.It had been known for decades that if the pancreas was removed from experimental animals, diabetes ensued.Practical results followed immediately: The first patient successfully treated was Leonard Thompson, in January 1922.Yet the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine in 1923 went to Banting and Macleod, head of the physiology department who had given Banting laboratory space.