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The Physicians Committee



PCRM 2005: The Year in Review: New Cruelty-Free Insulin Test Now Available Worldwide

insulin assayThe cruelty-free insulin test kit developed by PCRM in 2004 is now commercially available to scientists worldwide through Linco Research, a leading manufacturer of testing supplies.

PCRM developed the test after launching a 2003 study examining the effects of a low-fat vegan diet on diabetes. The insulin test kits on the market at the time used antibodies created in a painful and disturbing way: antibody-producing cells are injected into the abdomens of live mice, turning the animals into living “factories.” Experts said there was no other way, but PCRM proved them wrong.

Dr. Barnard decided to create an alternative, developing insulin antibodies in test tubes instead of in mice. However, since test-tube culture methods often use fetal calf serum, a slaughterhouse byproduct that can harbor bacteria and viruses, PCRM collaborated with a laboratory to create a serum-free synthetic growth medium.

The resulting test kit was as accurate as Linco’s existing insulin testing method—or even more so. The company has licensed the method from PCRM to offer to researchers measuring insulin in scientific tests.

Megha Even, M.S., the PCRM research analyst who helped develop the test, presented it at a number of scientific meetings in 2005, including the conference of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Biological Assay Development Conference.



 

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