Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reported in February that it had worked with BiosPacific and Linco Research to develop an insulin assay that measures insulin levels in individuals without relying on animal products.
PCRM president Neal Barnard said in a press release that PCRM needed to conduct insulin assays as part of a study of the effects of vegan diets on type 2 diabetes. Barnard said,
We only had two options available to us when we began our diabetes trials. One, we could use test kits with insulin antibodies grown in vivo — literally from cells injected into the abdomens of live mice — or we could use kits containing antibodies from cells cultured with fetal calf serum. Neither was acceptable to us.
So PCRM’s Megha Even worked with California lab BiosPacific to create an animal-free replacement for the fetal calf serum, and then with Linco Research created a test that uses antibodies cultured in the non-animal serum.
According to Barnard, details of PCRM’s non-animal assay will soon be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the non-animal test will be made available commercially,
We hope that by making the test readily available and competitively priced, researchers and medical labs will use it. We have proven that if researchers are willing to make the effort, there are effective, humane alternatives to animal-based assay, and other testing procedures — alternatives that could help save the lives of millions of people and animals.
PCRM develops world’s first cruelty-free insulin assay. Press Release, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, February 9, 2005.