Canadian scientists at the University of Calgary are the first in the world to produce a plant-based inexpensive insulin that will possibly change the way any diabetic looks at a safflower seed.

Maurice Moloney PhD, scientist at the University of Calgary and founder of SemBioSys, a new biotechnology company, found a way to transfer the human insulin gene into safflower flowers to produce insulin. The insulin is extracted from the seeds' oil.

SemBioSys has promising results from clinical trials with the biosimilar insulin, produced as SBS-1000 but commonly referred to as "prairie insulin". Prairie insulin a well deserved name since it a few prairies could produce enough insulin to manage the diabetes epidemic worldwide.  According to, a companion site to Canadian news channel, "each acre of safflower flowers could produce more than one kilogram of insulin, which could treat 2,500 diabetic patients for one year. That means just 16,000 acres of safflowers could meet the world's total demand each year".

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that that 285 million people worldwide have diabetes, with alarming growth in Africa and the Middle East and is a leading factor in millions of pre-mature deaths.


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