Activase, 50 mg; Alteplase, Recombinant

Description (Brief)
Activase is a recombinant pharmaceutical that is administered intravenously. Approved by the FDA on November 13, 1987, it contains tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), an enzyme that helps dissolve blood clots. Although Activase was originally developed to treat heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), it is now also used to treat stroke (acute ischemic stroke) and blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
Recombinant pharmaceuticals are created by inserting genes from one species into a host species, often yeast or bacteria, where they do not naturally occur. The genes code for a desired product, and therefore the genetically modified host organisms can be grown and used as a kind of living factory to produce the product. In this case, genes coding for tPA are inserted into cultured Chinese hamster ovary cells. The ovary cells produce tPA, which is harvested and used as the active ingredient in Activase.
Object consists of a white cardboard box with red and blue printing. Box contains one round clear glass bottle with blue plastic cap and white label. Bottle is about 1/3 full of white powder. Box also contains bubblewrap and one insert. Package indicates that the box once also contained 50mL of sterile water for preparing injection solutions.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Genentech, Inc.
Physical Description
Alteplase, 50mg (drug active ingredients)
L-arginine, 1.7 g (drug active ingredients)
overall: 3 1/4 in x 3 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in; 8.255 cm x 8.89 cm x 4.445 cm
place made
United States: California, San Francisco
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Recombinant Pharmaceuticals
Biotechnology and Genetics
Health & Medicine
Science & Mathematics
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Recombinant Pharmaceuticals
Biotechnology and Genetics
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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