The Role of Chemistry in History

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Methods of Production and Administering

April 30th, 2008 · 4 Comments ·

Introduction to Insulin / Chemical Properties / Methods of Production and Administering / Diabetes / Insulin Affects History / History Affects Insulin


  • synthetic insulin is manufactured using genetic engineering techniques that employ recombinant DNA technology
  • Eli Lilly marked the first synthetic insulin, Humulin, in 1982
  • Engineering technique:
    • actual human DNA is inserted into a host cell (E coli)
    • the host cells are then allowed to grow and reproduce normally
    • due to the inserted human DNA, the host cells produce a synthetic version of human insulin
  • according to a survey by the International Diabetes Federation conducted in 2002 on the access to and availability of insulin in the world, approximately 70% of insulin is recombinant, biosynthetic “human insulin”

Modes of Administration

  • Unlike most other proteins that can be taken orally, the insulin amino acid structure is broken down into fragments as it passes through the gastrointestinal tract
    • subcutaneous: injections with single-use syringes, an insulin pump, or by repeated-use insulin pens with needles
    • insulin pump: better than syringes because patients have a better control over the dosage as the pump’s calculator determine the necessary units
    • inhalation: in 2006 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the first inhalable insulin which was shortly withdrawn from the market due to difficulties in determining appropriate dosages
    • pancreatic transplantation: pancreas transplants to avoid periodic insulin administration
      • self-regulating source of insulin
      • pancreas transplantation is uncommon and generally performed in conjunction with either liver or kidney transplants

Insulin syringe



insulin pump

















Tags: Insulin