Horseshoe Crab's Medical Uses

By: Josh   picture of me.jpg (14040 bytes)

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The medical uses of the horseshoe crab are amazing! Scientist have produced a test known as Limulus Amebocyte Lysate (LAL). This test uses horseshoe crab’s unusual blue blood to test medication and all the medical devices that are implanted into the human body.  The horseshoe crab's blood is blue because it has copper in it.  The resarchers have to first collect the blood from the horseshoe crab.  They place them in a rack to expose the area where the horseshoe crab's heart is located.  They then stick a needle in the horseshoe crab's heart to get the blood.   300,000 crabs each year are bled for the crab's white blood cells.

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  Medical Researcher is bleeding a horseshoe crab. 

 

This is how the LAL test works, they add a small sample of the the medication being tested to the glass test tube with the LAL powder in it. Then they incubate the tube to 37 degrees celcius for 45 minutes. After that 45 minutes they invert the test tube and then observe the reaction.   Everything that is used in the human body is first tested with the blood to make sure that it has no bacteria in it.   An interesting fact is doctors and medical researchers use the crab’s blood to test the vaccines that we use today.

 

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This is a LAL test kit

The blood is also used for cancer research. Endotoxins are known to stop the growth of cancer cells. So the LAL can help people with cancer.

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Blue blood

People think the horseshoe crab has no good qualities, but they are WRONG! The horseshoe crab’s blood is probably the best thing that medical researchers have!

 

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