Arthur Ainsberg to Discuss New Book “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle”

Arthur Ainsberg to Discuss New Book “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle”

November 8, 2010

PHILADELPHIA – (November 9, 2010) – Arthur Ainsberg, writer and Wall Street executive, will discuss his new book, co-authored with Thea Cooper, “BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 9, at The Wistar Institute. The lecture is part of the 2010 Wistar Institute Authors Series.

“BREAKTHROUGH”explores the discovery of insulin through the story of Elizabeth Hughes, the 11-year-old daughter of Charles Evans Hughes, America’s most distinguished jurist and politician at the time. When Elizabeth Hughes was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in 1919, the only form of treatment was starvation, which kept her blood sugar levels low, but also wore her down to about 45 pounds.

Meanwhile, Canadian researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best took the first important step in developing a drug to treat diabetes: they identified and purified insulin from animal pancreases. Their achievement was soon overshadowed by scientific jealousy and intense business competition. In a race against time and a ravaging disease, Elizabeth Hughes became one of the first diabetics to receive insulin injections – all while its discoverers and a little known pharmaceutical company struggled to make it available to the rest of the world. Today, insulin saves millions of lives worldwide.

Ainsberg has experienced his own medical challenges, having been diagnosed in 1975 at the age of 28 with Hodgkin’s disease. At the time of his diagnosis, doctors had only recently developed a method of treatment that could cure the disease. His interest in medicine from personal experience, combined with his love of history, led him to write “BREAKTHROUGH.”

A veteran of the financial services industry, Ainsberg has served in senior management and consulting roles at Oppenheimer, Odyssey Partners, and Morgan Stanley. He was a scholar on the Endurance, the early 20th century expedition to Antarctica led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 2008, he published his first book, “Shackleton: Leadership Lessons from Antarctica.” Ainsberg frequently speaks about Shackleton’s experience spending nearly 17 months at sea, including nearly 15 months stranded on an ice island.

Ainsberg received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and finance, respectively, from Baruch College, N.Y., and has been a member of its board of trustees since 1995. An avid traveler, Ainsberg has visited all 50 states and 55 countries on seven continents, and every baseball stadium and presidential museum in the United States. He was born, educated, and currently resides in New York City.

The Joseph Fox Bookshop, an independent bookstore located at 1724 Sansom Street in Philadelphia, will provide books for sale at the Wistar event. St. Martin’s Press published “BREAKTHROUGH: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle” in September 2010.
The Wistar Institute Authors Series features general-interest books about science and medicine. The free program is part of Wistar’s public engagement efforts, which aim to introduce the Institute and its research mission to a wider audience.

The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the Web at