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From Tel Aviv, Israel:

What is the process of making insulin?


Manufacturing details are of course proprietary but nowadays the DNA of insulin can be synthesised in its normal human form or with modifications as in Humalog, NovoLog, and Lantus (insulin glargine) and then introduced into the nuclei of either yeast or E.Coli cells using a viral vector. The host cells are cultured in bulk with the production of insulin which is then separated from the rest of the media by conventional chromatographic techniques.


Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

In many parts of the world, insulin is still obtained from pig or cow pancreas, which are purified and then rebottled into Regular insulin. Protamine and several other chemicals and preservatives are then added to converted to NPH, or extra zinc is used to make Lente. Both the protamine and the zinc slow down the absorption of insulin and thus make the Regular insulin into intermediate acting forms.

Human insulin is synthesized either from modified E.Coli bacteria or from yeast. The gene to make insulin is inserted into these small organisms and then the insulin is separated and purified for injection purposes. NPH and Lente are made in the same process from the human Regular insulin. Analogs are made in the same way but the gene has been modified to either make the insulin faster or slower. Two fast acting analogs are Humalog from Eli Lilly and NovoLog insulin from Novo Nordisk. Another is used for an Inhaled insulin use as powder form to be aerosolized by Aventis and is called Exubera. The very long lasting insulin analog is called glargine, brand name Lantus.Lantus (insulin glargine).


Original posting 30 Dec 2002
Posted to Insulin


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