Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer Proposed Calling the Chemical Deficiency in Diabetics within the Pancreas 'Insulin'

In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer suggested that people with diabetes were deficient in a single chemical that was normally produced by the pancreas—he proposed calling this substance insulin, from the Latin insula, meaning island, in reference to the insulin-producing islets of Langerhans in the pancreas.

He is further remembered in the field of endocrinology for his proposal that the active pancreatic substance in the islets of Langerhans should be called ‘insuline’, some eight years before its discovery by Frederick Banting and Charles Best.

The term insulin was coined in 1910 by Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer, a Scotsman from Edinburgh, who pinpointed that people who suffer from diabetes are deficient in a (until then unnamed) chemical produced by the pancreas. He proposed calling this chemical insulin, and the word has been in existence ever since.

In 1910, an English physiologist, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer, suggested that a single chemical component was missing from the pancreas of diabetics and called it “insulin”.