Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Best, Charles

(1899-1978) was born to Canadian parents who were living in West Pembroke, Maine at the time. He grew up there, graduated from the local high school, then attended the University of Toronto where he received his M.D. degree in 1925.

In 1921 he, along with his colleague Frederick Banting, discovered insulin, a key substance in treating diabetes. Banting later received a Nobel prize for the discovery and split the prize money with Best.

Best also discovered the vitamin choline (which prevents liver damage under certain conditions), investigated histamine (an important mediator in local inflammatory reactions), and introduced anticoagulants (heparin) for treatment of thrombosis. [Shampo, p. 1546]

Best authored several works, including The Internal Secretion of the Pancreas (1922), The Physiological Basis of Medical Practice [nine editions] (1933), The Human Body (four editions), and numerous papers on insulin, histamines, and other medical subjects.

The state of Kuwait in 1971 issued a set of two stamps with the portraits of Best and Banting.

Additional resources

Stover, Arthur Douglas. Eminent Mainers: Succinct Biographies of Amazing Mainers, Mostly Dead, and Few People from Away Who Have Done Something Useful Within the State of Maine. Gardiner, Me. Tilbury House. 2006. p. 41.

Shampo, Marc A. Kyle, Robert A. “Charles Best–Codiscoverer of Insulin.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. December, 2004, Vol. 79 Issue 12. p1546-1546.

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This entry was last modified: October 24, 2011 12:16 AM

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