By kristalamb
Posted date: March 28, 2021

Insulin 100 logo with Bruce Perkins, Alice Cheng and Gary Lewis

By Krista Lamb

*This article originally appeared on the BBDC website.

It has been 100 years since the discovery of insulin, a seminal event in medical history that has saved the lives of millions of people around the world. It is an exceptional reason to celebrate, which is why the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre, Diabetes Action Canada, and the University of Toronto Department of Medicine have developed an event that will share not only exciting developments in Canadian research but also the experiences of those living with or working within the field of diabetes.

One of the speakers at this event, Dr. Bruce Perkins, is both a diabetes researcher and a person living with type 1 diabetes. Perkins, who is the Director of the Leadership Sinai Diabetes Centre and a Professor at the University of Toronto, will be speaking about the latest advances in diabetes treatment. It is, however, the magnitude of the discovery of insulin, a drug that keeps him alive and healthy, that is most significant to him.

“As a scientist, and a person with diabetes, it is humbling to realize what an extraordinary thing this discovery was one hundred years ago, and that we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it in its fullest,” he says. “The history really motivates me. It was a simple discovery with so much impact.”

Perkins will be joined on the panel by Dr. Alice Cheng, an endocrinologist at Unity Health in Toronto who is a passionate advocate for the diabetes community. She too sees this event as much more than just an opportunity to discuss diabetes treatments. “It’s exciting to learn from the past, in terms of understanding the history of the discovery, and then learn about what’s happening now and what might happen in the future,” she says. “It is a celebration of the achievement, but also meant to further Inspire everyone to continue this work so things keep getting better. It’s a very proud moment.”

In addition to this panel, which will be moderated by Dr. Sarah Linklater, Chief Scientific Officer at JDRF Canada, people living with diabetes will be front and centre to share their stories. Members of Diabetes Action Canada’s Indigenous Patient Circle will discuss the role of insulin in their lives, Jen Hanson from Connected In Motion will share ways to live an active and healthy life with type 1 diabetes, researchers from across Canada will explain how people living with diabetes have begun playing an active and vital role in their studies, and messages of celebration from around the country will be shared throughout the event.

“When we started to explore how to celebrate this milestone, we knew that people living with diabetes needed to be at the heart of it,” says Dr. Gary Lewis, Director of the BBDC and Scientific Co-Lead for Diabetes Action Canada. “We are so thrilled to have an array of speakers who will be sharing their experiences in a way that will educate and inspire. Our greatest hope is that a cure will happen within the next 100 years, but for now we want to show our appreciation for this life-saving discovery.”

Join us on April 14, 2021 from 4:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET. The event is free, but registration is required.

The full agenda is available here.


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Diabetes Action Canada | SPOR Network
200 Elizabeth Street
Eaton Building, Room 12E242
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2C4 Canada

416-340-4800 ex. 2522