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New pathway to cheap insulin
Date:5/26/2010

lin is produced as recombinant protein, using two major routes. One route involves the production of the insulin precursor using the bacterium Escherichia coli as expression host with complex subsequent isolation, solubilization and refolding procedures. The other route involves the well-known baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The advantage of the latter route lies in the secretion of a soluble insulin precursor into the culture supernatant, making it easier for isolation and chemical modification. The newly described method from Ursula Rinas and her group also uses this route. The isolation of the precursor from the culture supernatant is only followed by enzymatic finishing. Insulin produced with this new method can be used normally and is identical to human insulin. Currently, the researchers are working on a method to produce a vaccine against dengue fever using the same system as described here.

For most people in developing countries medicine is too expensive. The purchasing of insulin in those countries is often cost prohibitive. Another problem is patent law that makes it impossible to recreate medicine and sell it at low prices. Once a patent has expired, as is the case with insulin, the so called generic drugs can be produced cheaply. Unfortunately, emerging nations very often lack the insider knowledge to produce those generics.


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Contact: Bastian Dornbach
bastian.dornbach@helmholtz-hzi.de
49-053-161-811-407
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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