How Are Insulin Shots Made

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Anti-gmo Advocates Try To Scare Diabetics Off Life-saving Genetically Engineered Drug Treatment

In the late 1970s scientists used genetic engineering to piece the gene for human insulin production into E. Coli or yeast cells, essentially turning them into tiny insulin factories. Before this technology, diabetics had to inject themselves with insulin from ground up pork and beef pancreases. The human stuff offers a lot of benefit over the animal variety: it’s more useful for controlling blood sugar levels and it causes many fewer allergic reactions than the animal-derived insulin. But, because synthetic human insulin is derived from genetically modified yeast or bacteria cells, no amount of evidence, including 40 years of intensive study and millions of diabetics who would have died without the treatment, will convince some anti-GMO activists of its safety. Why? Because it’s ‘not natural.’ A number of anti-technology activists launched a coordinated campaign over the past week by misrepresenting a recent small Japanese study that identified six patients with Type 2 diabetes who began developing Type 1 diabetes after starting insulin. The actual study makes no mention of GMO insulin or the animal-produced variety, which is perfectly safe, as Kevin Folta, head Horticultu Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Marzeater

    Not your own body produced. I mean the stuff given to inject yourself.
    I've been told it's from pigs. Is that true?

  2. cugila

    An extract:
    Where Does Commercial Insulin Come From?
    The first successful insulin preparations came from cows (and later pigs). The pancreatic islets and the insulin protein contained within them were isolated from animals slaughtered for food in a similar but more complex fashion than was used by our doctor and med-student duo. The bovine (cow) and porcine (pig) insulin were purified, bottled, and sold. Bovine and porcine insulin worked very well (and still do!) for the vast majority of patients, but some could develop an allergy or other types of reactions to the foreign protein (a foreign protein is a protein which is not native to humans). In the 1980's technology had advanced to the point where we could make human insulin. The advantage would be that human insulin would have a much lower chance of inducing a reaction because it is not a foreign protein (all humans have the exact same insulin, so we do not "see" this as a foreign protein). The technology which made this approach possible was the development of recombinant DNA techniques. In simple terms, the human gene which codes for the insulin protein was cloned (copied) and then put inside of bacteria. A number of tricks were performed on this gene to make the bacteria want to use it to constantly make insulin. Big vats of bacteria now make tons of human insulin. From this, pharmaceutical companies can isolate pure human insulin.
    The full article here.

  3. kewgirl

    Hi Marzeater
    There are currently 3 Types of Insulin available in the UK. Then within each type there are a variety of insulin’s, which differ in the way they act and/or how long they last.
    Animal Insulin
    Human Synthetic Insulin
    Genetically Modified (GM) Synthetic Analogues.
    Animal insulin is extracted from the pancreases of dead pigs (Porcine Insulin) and cattle (Bovine / Beef Insulin). Following extraction they are highly purified. Animal insulin is the oldest type of insulin in use.
    However……in the 1920’s to overcome the shortage of beef insulin whale (as in the large mammals that swim in the sea not the country) insulin was also manufactured. :shock:
    Examples in use today: Hypurin Porcine & Bovine Insulin, Hypurin Bovine Lente & Hypurin Bovine Protamine Zinc Insulin (PZI).
    Human Synthetic Insulin is not extracted from dead humans!
    It is made in the laboratory using recombinant DNA technology based on the DNA structure of insulin that human pancreases secrete.
    Human insulin is grown in the lab inside common bacteria. The bacteria Escherichia coli or E-Coli is by far the most widely used type of bacterium, but yeast cells are also used.
    Human synthetic insulin was developed to make insulin more available world wide.
    There were concerns that the supply for insulin globally would outstrip the supply of animal insulin, which has in fact not happened.
    Examples in use today: Actrapid, Humalin I, Insulatard, Insuman
    GM Synthetic Analogues
    The newest kids on the block! Manufactured in the laboratory by modifying the chemical structure of human synthetic insulin so that the resulting compound has different chemical properties to human synthetic insulin. Insulin analogues are therefore man made or artificial products cultivated from deactivated e-coli or bakers yeast cells.
    Examples in use today: Apidra, Novorapid, Humalog, Lantus, Levemir
    Insulin is like a string of beads and the way in which the beads are linked together and more significantly how they come apart denotes the mode of action for each of the respective types thus some insulin’s begin acting very quickly after injecting and other insulin’s take longer to work.
    Some insulin are combined so the short acting & the longer acting component of the insulin are mixed together such as Novomix (analogue), Humalog Mix (analogue), Mixtard (human), Humalin M3 (human), Porcine 30/70 mix (animal).
    Human synthetic insulin & GM analogues have differences in their amino acid structure whilst animal insulin has the nearest amino acid structure to human (non synthetic) insulin.

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