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HEALTH How to make insulin from animal pancreas
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  1. #1

    How to make insulin from animal pancreas

    The first document below, originally published in 1923, explains in detail how to
    extract insulin from the pancreas of several species of animals (sheep,
    cattle, hogs). The other links discuss other methods and give more
    information about the 1920s "state of the scientific art" system of
    extracting insulin from animal pancreas (pancreases?).

    The footnote for the method is --

    Doisy, E. A., Somogyi, M., and Shaffer, P. A., J. Biol. Chem., 1923, Iv,
    p. xxxi.

    A search for this footnote yielded a copy of a 1924 Masters thesis --
    Experiments on the Chemical Behavior of Insulin -- from the California
    Institute of Technology --

    AND the complete Doisy, Somogyi, and Shaffer paper --On the Preparation
    of Insulin --

    Also a 1923 review of the methods of Preparation of Insulin --

    1925 -- A Further investigation of the chemical properties of insulin

    1923 -- Annual reports on the progress of Chemistry
    beginning at page 177, a review of the methods of producing insulin with
    footnotes and the advantages/disadvantages,

    "Kids, don't try this at home unless civilization has crashed and conventional insulin is not available."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    A Multi-Demensional Quantum Environment.
    Well, don't know how viable it is. Having been a diabetic since I was 22mos old I saw a lot of changes thru the years but hey-they started somewhere right?

    Wonder what the mortality rate from the late 20's into the 30's was while it was being ironed out..?
    "It ain't no secret I didn't get these scars falling over in church."

    I have not failed. I have simple discovered ten-thousand ways things don't work.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Pierre's Hole
    Best emergency insulin prep I have seen is found in the book, "Lucifer's Hammer".

    A main character, genius type fellow is also a type I diabetic... He discusses what he needs to stay alive and his major problem was he had no centrifuge.

    Your typical dr's office blood spinner probably will not work..... think large, washing machine size to be able to prepare sufficient quantities......

    Been there, done that.... (even milligram quantities of proteins take tons of work...)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Central Illinois..halfway between here and there.
    I had an endocrinologist tell me that you could get a cow's thyroid and pulverize it and use it to replace the human thyroid hormones if things got tough. He didn't say what the dosage would be though. I guess the same would be true for insulin?
    Needs more cowbell.
    "The Constitution only gives people the right to persue happiness. You have to catch it yourself." --Benjamin Franklin
    Proud member of fly-over country

  5. #5
    My Great grandmother was one of the first diabetics to receive insulin using the method described above. She lived to be in her 70's so apparently it worked - probably with strict adherence to diet as all photos of her show her very skinny. Trouble is back then you had no way of testing blood sugar levels nor would you know the potency of the insulin. Being used to what we have now, that seems quite scary to me...yet my Grandfather took insulin by actual "shot" (drawing it out of a vial, steralizing needles, etc.) and his only "test" was a monthly urine check and he lived to 83 so it can be done...just not as convenient.
    When voting for the lesser of two still get evil.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Portland, Oregon
    rmwj, thanks for the first .pdf link! I saved the .pdf file to my hard drive and will add it to my preps flash drive on my next mega-sync.

    I was recently talking about this with a diabetic friend and asked him if he knew what the character in "Lucifer's Hammer" was talking about when he said he could make insulin with one sheep per month and a laboratory. He didn't know and I said something real sympathetic like, "Gee, I guess that means you're gonna die if there's a disaster and you can't get modern insulin then, huh?" Presumably this file (or something like it) was what Niven/Pournelle had in mind.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001
    In CLE again
    I once asked Jerry Pournelle if he had the reference for the process and he said that he did not have a process reference. He indicated that his comment was more a peripheral scene setting comment than anything else. He knew that there was a process, he'd never tracked it down, or couldn't remember where he'd tracked it down.

    thanks for the links, Bob.
    Mookie War Creed
    "I am the Sword of my Family and Shield of my Nation. If sent, I will crush everything you have built, burn all that you love, and kill every one of you."
    Welcome to dar al harab -dar al kufre.

    Gentle reminder: It is entirely possible to think that generalizations are true and to judge each real live person you meet as an individual

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Satanta View Post
    Well, don't know how viable it is. Having been a diabetic since I was 22mos old I saw a lot of changes thru the years but hey-they started somewhere right?

    Wonder what the mortality rate from the late 20's into the 30's was while it was being ironed out..?

    No idea, except it was FOR SURE lower than without any insulin at all! I'm grateful that we don't have any diabetics in our family, but if we did, I would FOR SURE be doing whatever possible to get the equipment on hand to make usable insulin if necessary. The livestock aren't a problem here.



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