Biomedical Breakthrough is win-win for shorebirds and horseshoe crabs: Deborah Cramer of The Narrow Edge spreads the word
“Jay Bolden, a senior biologist with pharma giant Eli Lilly, has spent the last five years proving a synthetic molecule works as well as horseshoe crab blood in a life-saving medical test…It took a dedicated birder to convince pharma giant Eli Lilly to use a synthetic compound instead of horseshoe crab blood in a mandatory medical test. Now, he hopes the rest of industry will follow…” – from National Audubon article published this March 11 2018 Inside the Biomedical Revolution to Save Horseshoe Crabs and the Shorebirds That Need Them, by Deborah Cramer with photographs by Timothy Fadek
Cramer explained that Ryan Phelan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Revive and Restore contacted her “to see how this organization might help accelerate institutional and government exploration, acceptance of the synthetic endotoxin test to replace the use of horseshoe crabs…In the book, I’d portrayed how essential the energy rich horseshoe crab eggs are to shorebird migration, and how their numbers decline when they leave for the Arctic, hungry. I’d described how every human family, and their pets, depend on the horseshoe crab blood test to detect potentially life-threatening endotoxin in vaccines, joint replacements, PET scans, heart stents, IV lines, etc. And went on to tell the story of the development of the genetically engineered substitute, and the– at the time decade long–that had elapsed without it being accepted or adopted by regulators or the pharmaceutical industry.”
Revive and Restore’s announcement in the NJ Audubon news this week has more information about these dedicated scientists and exciting news. Deborah Cramer is too modest to spell it out, so I will. Revive and Restore was inspired in part by Cramer’s book, The Narrow Edge, an award-winning read that’s smart and lyrical, and an environmental game changer. Have you read it yet?
Here was a substitute test that could leave hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs in the water every year, no one was using it.
The Narrow Edge reveals more unexpected alliances and consequences. Readers learn that hunters have done much to protect wildlife at the edge of the sea through the tax on guns and ammunition. The Federal Duck Stamp that’s required on hunting licenses provides millions of dollars to support national wildlife refuges (and supports contemporary fine art). Memberships to organizations like National Audubon and donations from wildlife fans, photographers, and birders make a difference.
Cramer had to be trained how to handle a gun for necessary wild and remote travel research. Gloucester, Cape Ann and North Shore readers: she took the course for her license to carry at Cape Ann Sportsman Club found along Dogtown’s edge where it’s been for over a century. (I’m not certain how Cramer rated there, but a president’s daughter was a good shot. In 1912, Helen Taft, qualified as an “Expert with a Rifle” when she visited the range with her Gloucester friend, Elizbeth Hammond.)
prior gmg post, June 2016– Piping Plover Fans: Local author Deborah Cramer on sandpipers is a must read. Oh, and dogs vs.
To learn more about Deborah Cramer, go to www.deborahcramer.com
Cramer resides and works in Gloucester, MA. She’a a Visiting Scholar, Environmental Solutions Initiative, at MIT. Her books include: Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage (W.W. Norton); Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World (Harper Collins/Smithsonian Books);
The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey” (Yale University Press) which was recognized as the National Academy of Sciences Best Book 2016, Society of Environmental Journalists Rachel Carson Book Award 2016, Southern Environmental Law Center Reed Award 2016, Massachusetts Book Awards Must Read 2016; Participant, PBS American Experience film “Rachel Carson,” 2017; Sierra Club, 2017, “one of nine outstanding contemporary writers whose words can make us reconsider or better appreciate our relationship to the natural world.”
about the marshes of West Gloucester – “Kayaking through the North Shore’s Great Marsh,” with Deborah Cramer and Radio Boston’s Meghna Chakrabarti. http://www.wbur.org/radioboston/2016/06/24/north-shore-marsh