How Is Synthetic Insulin Made?
Synthetic insulin was first made in 1978 by scientists at Genetech, Inc. and City of Hope National Medical Center. This achievement was a giant step forward in insulin production for people with diabetes. Previously, pig and cattle pancreas glands were the only viable method of production. While sufficient for most diabetics, the use of animals to produce insulin did cause some allergic reactions, as it was not a true human match to insulin. Scientists use recombinant DNA gene technology to synthesize insulin. Insulin is composed of two amino acid chains that are joined together. The “A” chain has 21 amino acids, while the “B” chain has 30. These amino acid chains have a specific order. The process is somewhat complicated so the following is an excerpt from the Genetech press release explaining the actual scientific process: Insulin is a protein hormone composed of two chains of amino acids: an “A” chain and a “B” chain linked together by two disulfide bonds. The “A” chain is composed of 21 amino acids and the “B” chain of 30 amino acids, each arranged in a uniquely ordered sequence. Proteins are made by translating the genetic information which is carried i Continue reading >>