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Human Growth Hormone and Other Proteins Prepared by Recombinant DNA Technology

SANDRA L. BLETHEN, PHD, MD; VIRGINIA V. WELDON, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(8):669-671. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970440013003.
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For the past 25 years, human growth hormone has been used successfully in the treatment of short stature due to growth hormone deficiency.1,2 Unlike certain other polypeptide hormones, such as insulin, adrenocorticotropin, and thyroid-stimulating hormone, growth hormone prepared from animals commonly slaughtered for food is not effective in humans. For this reason, supplies of human growth hormone have been limited by the availability of human pituitaries collected at autopsy. Although the number of autopsies performed in the United States has declined, improvements in the techniques of protein purification applied to human growth hormone have resulted in better yields of hormone from the pituitaries available, and thus the supply of growth hormone in the United States has not decreased. However, a marked decline in the collection of human pituitaries such as occurred recently in Britain could seriously compromise the treatment of many growth hormone–deficient children. Thus, the possibility of a

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