How Acellular Agriculture Will Reshape Food
Author: Paul Shapiro
Source: Food Dive
Imagine train car after train car, all en route to a medical factory, filled with nothing but pig and cattle pancreases.
As tough as it is to imagine today, just four decades ago, that’s how we made insulin for diabetics. At the time, it took some 23,500 farm animal pancreases simply to produce a single pound of insulin, meaning that pharma giant Eli Lilly purchased the pancreases of 53 million animals each year.
Thankfully, diabetics no longer need to inject themselves with parts of pig pancreases. Instead, they have access to a safer and more reliable therapy: actual human insulin. No, they’re not relying on cadavers. Instead, they can thank the scientists at a then-start-up called Genetech, which figured out how to engineer bacteria to make human insulin on their own.