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Dr. Charles Herbert Best, CC, MD, FRS, FRSC, FRCPmarker (February 27, 1899 – March 31, 1978) was a medical scientist. He was one of the co-discoverers of insulin.

Born in West Pembroke, Washington Countymarker, Mainemarker, the son of Luella Fisher Best and Herbert Huestis Best, his parents were Canadians from Nova Scotiamarker. Best moved to Torontomarker, Ontariomarker in 1915 where he started studying towards a Bachelor of Arts degree at University College, University of Torontomarker. In 1918, he enlisted in the Canadian Army serving with the 2nd Canadian Tank Battalion. After the war, he completed his degree in the Physiology and Biochemistry course.

As a 22-year-old medical student at the University of Torontomarker he worked as an assistant to Dr. Frederick Banting and played a major role in the discovery of the pancreatic hormone insulin—one of the most significant advances in medicine, enabling an effective treatment for diabetes.

In 1923, the Nobel Prize committee honoured Banting and J.J.R. Macleod with the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of insulin, ignoring Best. This incensed Banting, who voluntarily shared half of his award money with Best.

Best succeeded Macleod as professor of physiology at University of Toronto in 1929. During World War II he was influential in establishing a Canadianmarker programme for securing and using dried human blood serum. In his later years, Best was an adviser to the medical research committee of the United Nations World Health Organization.

Best married Margaret Hooper Mahon in Toronto in 1924. They had two sons.

Charles Best is interred in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.

Awards and Honours

In 1967 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in recognition "for his contribution to medicine, particularly as co-discoverer of insulin". He was a Commander of the Civil Division of the Order of the British Empire and was made a member of Order of the Companions of Honour in 1971 "for services to Medical Research". He was a fellow of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Canada, and was the first Canadian to be elected into the Pontifical Academy of Sciencesmarker .

In 1994 he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Famemarker.

Dr. Charles Best Secondary Schoolmarker in Coquitlam, British Columbiamarker, C.H. Best West Elementary School in Burlington, Ontariomarker, and C.H. Best East Middle School in Toronto, Ontariomarker, are named in his honour.

Honorary Degrees

Dr. Charles Best received 18 [11430] Honorary Degrees from Universities around the World Including

See also

Further reading

  • John Waller (2002) Fabulous Science: fact and fiction in the history of scientific discovery, Oxford. See Chapter 11: "Painting yourself into a corner; Charles Best and the discovery of insulin", page 223.


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