This page has moved to a new address.

Do you know who developed the Insulin Pump? Professor John C. Pickup


19 December 2005

Do you know who developed the Insulin Pump? Professor John C. Pickup

I remember the day I finally got an appointment to see an endocrinologist at Guys Hospital here in London. I had recently moved from Rome and left behind a wonderful doctor, Professor Geremia B. Bolli of the University of Perugia, Italy. I wasn't going to accept second rate in London and so, I waited 9 months to be assigned to a doctor at Guys.
What is interesting is I knew that there had been a team at Guy's who developed the insulin pump in the late 1970's /early 80's. And I knew that Guys, and Kings College Hospitals (all teaching hospitals), were by reputation, the best in clinical standards and research. So imagine my surprise when the the doctor I had been assigned to nearly a year ago, Professor John C. Pickup, sent me an email after reading my blog post about the Animas (makers of insulin pumps) acquisition by Johnson & Johnson (see Post 16/12/2005):
Elizabeth, I think your blog is great! Please continue. There is a lot I could comment on, but I will restrain myself a bit. I didn't know about J&J - this is fascinating for me as the inventor of the insulin pump.
Now that is what I call a story...
In 1976, John Pickup, now Professor of Diabetes and Metabolism, Guy's, King's and St Thomas' School of Medicine, London, started developing the first Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion (CSII) in December 1976 as a research fellow. Today, he is a very passionate advocate for the use of pump therapy as "best" and has written many important published papers, definitive textbooks on the subject as well as address the House of Commons on the subject of diabetes and why pumps should be made more accessible here in the UK.
Professor Pickup is a hero. No one at Guys ever financially benefitted from the development of the pump; they didn't patent it back then in the 70's. Hard to believe...
It is not very English at all to do this sort of thing...but I think Professor Pickup deserves a round of applause, especially from each and everyone of us who is wearing a pump today! Next year, I hope Prof. Pickup will accept my request for an interview so we can learn more about what was going on in those laboratories at Guys Hospital in the 1970's and what he thinks about the future.

Guys Hospital, built in 1721 and founded by Sir Thomas Guy


Blogger Megan said...

Wow, how cool that you get to see the doctor that developed the pump. I think it will be interesting to see how pump therapy becomes more and more used in the future. While I know it is unrealistic, I would love to see the day when ever insulin dependant diabetic is on the pump.

This coming from me- a type 1 not on the pump. Though hopesfully soon...

5:23 AM  
Anonymous wilson said...

Yes indeed. What a terribly British attitude. I don't wear a pump, nor do I want to. Not at least till the day where continuus bg measurement is combined in one unit with a pump which is small and disposable like a nicotine patch or something like that.
And we all drive rocket cars.

11:41 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home