uses pig islets to replace human islets that have been destroyed by type 1 diabetes.

Auckland Island Pigs - a naturally occurring disease free pig herd

At DOL we use intact pig cells to replace or regenerate human cell functions that have been lost due to disease. Because the cells live permanently in the people we treat, it is essential we have a supply of cells from pigs which are free of bacteria and viruses that might cause disease in people.  


The Auckland Island pigs were released as a food source onto the remote sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands by sailors and whalers during the 1800s. Since then, the islands have remained largely deserted of other humans and mammals. This 200 years of isolation effectively quarantined the pig herd from viruses and bacteria that you would normally find in pigs. This means they are naturally free of many of the micro-organisms capable of infecting humans making them an ideal source of cells for human medicine.


In 1999, the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand retrieved 15 of these pigs and Living Cell Technologies moved them into a specific pathogen free bio-isolation facility near Invercargill at the bottom of New Zealand’s South Island. Here the pigs have remained and bred to form the herd that is now owned by DOL and used as the source of cells for our products. 


The pig herd is screened three times a year for potential infections and we test all products going out of our manufacturing facility to make sure they are pathogen free.