Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hamster Dance

I've had problems with needles my entire life and have passed out on more than one occasion from a simple flu shot. Waking up on the floor of a public bathroom following a blood draw was not a fun experience (yuck) and I never dreamed I'd be able to give myself injections. I'm now on Rebif, a disease modifying drug that reduces the number of lesions that develop in the Central Nervous System (the cause of MS symptoms) over time. A friend of mine who also has MS is on the same treatment and brought my attention to an interesting detail about this medication... Here's a quote taken from the Rebif package insert:

"Rebif® (interferon beta-1a) is a purified 166 amino acid glycoprotein with a molecular weight of approximately 22,500 daltons. It is produced by recombinant DNA technology using genetically engineered Chinese Hamster Ovary cells into which the human interferon beta gene has been introduced."


Amid all of the science talk, did you catch the part about Chinese Hamster Ovary cells?! Ew. After doing some research, I learned that CHO cells (yes, they have an acronym) are actually widely used in biotech manufacturing. It's pretty bizarre, but I also find it highly amusing. Jason and I now refer to my shots as my "hamster dance." This comes from a ridiculous cartoon of dancing hamsters that circulated via e-mail a few years back. He likes to play it on his iPhone while I do my shot -- The song is beyond irritating, but it makes me smile every time.

I'm not entirely sure how to explain all of this to Emily when the time comes. I do know, however, that I'll tell her all about the hamster dance. She'll like that part.


  1. Love it! I had been taking it for 2-3 years before I noticed 'Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells' on the packaging. I was shocked!

    I've had an impromptu conversation with Aynsley about taking shots...only because she was still awake and there was not way to avoid it. We didn't mention MS but she often reminds me that it's a shot night on M, W, or F. I'll have to show her the hamster dance video! :) -Lisa

  2. I think that video just caused me physical pain. Note to self: If you haven't yet had your coffee, do not watch flashy, brightly colored videos with scary rodents.

  3. It's a little overwhelming even after coffee!

    Lisa, I'm thankful Em is so young. It will just always be a part of her life instead of having to explain something new. It's probably a much bigger deal in my head than it will ever be in hers! :}