Canada is known for new and innovative ideas which change the shape of the scientific field and enhance people’s everyday lives. Canadian doctors, scientists and engineers have contributed to the realm of medicine and science in many ways. Contributions Canada has made to medicine and science have had monumental impacts on Canada and the world, with the discovery of insulin which has saved many lives to the inventions of time zones and discovery of the t-cell receptor. These new discoveries have bettered the world we live in and brought attention to Canada as a world leader in the field of science.
The discovery of insulin by Sir Fredrick Banting and Charles Best has saved the lives of millions around the world. Before the discovery of insulin doctors new diabetes directly correlated to the pancreas and sugar intake, but could not figure out how. Patients were put on a strict diet to limit sugar intake which at most would buy the person a few extra years. In some cases this diet would cause patients to die of starvation . Many doctors had tried to find the relationship between the pancreas and glucose levels with no luck.
In early 1921 an unknown doctor, Fredrick Banting, went to Professor John Macleod of The University of Toronto with an idea; he was going to try what no one else could accomplish, find a cure for diabetes. In January of 1922, the new break through miracle drug was found at The University of Toronto labs by excreting insulin, unknown at the time, from the pancreases of dogs. This experiment was conducted by removing the pancreas of a dog which resulted in the dog showing early symptoms of diabetes.
They then froze the pancreas, ground it up and filtered it which resulted in a mixture they called “isletin”. This mixture was then injected into the dog which showed immediate results, there was a drop in glucose and the dog became stronger and healthier looking. By giving the dog the injections multiple times a day they were able to keep the dog alive and symptom free from a disease which would have caused death. After the experiments on the dogs a biochemist, Bertram Collip, was hired to refine the mixture for human use.
Just months later on January, 23 1922 the first human test was done on a young boy, who after receiving the insulin rapidly regained strength and appetite. The experiment was a success and spread quickly through the medical community. Many doctors thought of the drug as a miracle by bringing back the almost dead . For their hard work and innovation the team at The University of Toronto received the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1923. The discovery of insulin has saved and prolonged lives around the world by finding a superior treatment method for diabetes.
Time zones have greatly affected the lives of people in Canada and around the world. The idea for time zones was thought of by Sir Sandford Flemming, a Canadian railway engineer, who was stuck in a train station over night after confusion with the time after changing railways. This overnight stop inspired Flemming to come up with a way to standardize time. At this time in history time was decided by the cities and usually relied on the sun. In Canada it was decided that municipalities would differ in time by one minute for each 18km separation from east to west.
This was decided on in a time when 18km was a long and tiresome process which most people would do very rarely. When the railway was set up and travel became easier and more convenient people found the previous time agreement to be confusing and impractical. Each train station set its own clock which made it difficult to coordinate train schedules. The rail road companies then decided to enact uniform time to lessen confusion, these time zones would be based off of longitude. Flemming was not content with standard time just for the railroads, he wanted time zones to be used for all purposes.
He advocated strongly for time zones to be used universally; his hard work paid off when in 1884 a conference was held in Washington D. C. to select a prime meridian. Countries at this conference decided on Greenwich England for the prime meridian and readily agreed to the 24 time zones implemented by Flemming. The time zones would be centred at the prime meridian and each time zone would be 15° longitude wide and differ by one hour. To this day most countries in the world use Coordinated Universal Time to keep track of the time.
Sir Sandford Flemming changed the way the world worked by creating an organized worldwide system to keep track of time. Dr. Tak Wah Mak is a critically acclaimed and world renowned Canadian researcher in immunology and cancer biology who discovered the t-cell receptor in 1984. The t-cell receptor is responsible for a variety of cell-mediated responses which deal with the destruction of viral infections and malignant cells. This was one of the toughest problems in immunology; it was thought that the t-cell receptor was some kind of antibody.
Through years of tests Dr. Mak found that t-cell receptors were akin in design to antibodies but have entirely different genetic sequencing. This was such a large find because of the possibility of cancer treatments. Since the discovery of the t-cell receptor new and more effective cancer treatments are coming onto the market which do not use harmful chemicals. The t-cell receptor is found naturally in the body and by adding more it can teach your cells to fight against malignant tumours.
This new treatment has already been used to treat cancers such as leukemia and neuroblastomas. As well the t-cell receptor has been used to recover neurological function after trauma, reduce organ rejections during transplant and treat viral infections and AIDS/HIV-1. Without the work by Dr. Tak Wah Mak on t-cell receptors these new cures for dangerous and deadly diseases would never have been discovered. Canadians scientists and engineers have proven their status in the world by coming up with ingenious and ground breaking ideas and discoveries.
Not only have these discoveries affected Canada, but people around the world. Without the discovery of insulin, by Sir Fredrick Banting and Charles Best millions of people around the world would die of diabetes each year. The idea of time zones by Sir Sandford Flemming has changed people’s lives by implementing an organized system that people around the world can follow; without this time zone system there would be mass confusion when traveling to other cities or countries.
Lastly, the work done by Dr. Tak Wah Mak on the t-cell receptor has led to the improved treatments for previously hard to treat cancers and diseases; as well as creating treatments for neurological injuries and organ transplants. Without these extraordinary Canadians these scientific or medical breakthroughs would never have been made. Canadian contributions to medicine and science have had a profound effect on Canada and the rest of the world.