CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

Artificial insulin

The Story

Insulin, once deemed the "miracle drug," continues to be refined. When the drug was first introduced, it acted very quickly and needed to be injected frequently. Further modifications were made to the hormone to slow its absorption rate. Most insulin is derived from pig or ox pancreases. Until now, diabetics with acute allergies to those types of natural insulin suffered. But as the biotechnology industry continues to diversify, there is new hope. Dr. Saran Narang of Ottawa explores the use of insulin extracted from genetically modified bacteria in this CBC News report.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: April 9, 1980
Guest: Saran Narang
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: John Blackstone
Duration: 2:14

Did You know?

• Dr. Narang's cloning research proved to be groundbreaking in the treatment of diabetics. Before he cloned the gene for human proinsulin, the substance made in the pancreas before it is converted into insulin, approximately 15 per cent of diabetics couldn't accept the hormone because of allergies to the animal-derived substance.
• Production of human insulin proved very successful and as of 2003 has mostly replaced animal insulin worldwide.


Chasing a Cure for Diabetes more