Henrietta Lacks' `Immortal' Cells
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10231) 12 years ago
Henrietta Lacks' `Immortal' Cells
By Sarah Zielinski
SMITHSONIAN.COM
January 22, 2010

Medical researchers use laboratory-grown human cells to learn the intricacies of how cells work and test theories about the causes and treatment of diseases. The cell lines they need are "immortal"-they can grow indefinitely, be frozen for decades, divided into different batches and shared among scientists. In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, created the first immortal human cell line with a tissue sample taken from a young black woman with cervical cancer. Those cells, called HeLa cells, quickly became invaluable to medical research-though their donor remained a mystery for decades. In her new book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, journalist Rebecca Skloot tracks down the story of the source of the amazing HeLa cells, Henrietta Lacks, and documents the cell line's impact on both modern medicine and the Lacks family.

Continued at:
http://www.smithsonianmag...Cells.html
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1671) 12 years ago
I was just reading this article as you were posting it Hal. What is it they say about great minds?

Fascinating article.
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Posted by Hal Neumann (+10231) 12 years ago
>>Fascinating article.

Yeah . . . I thought so. It's just darned interesting how things play out sometimes.
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Posted by Kelly (+2804) 12 years ago
When I was working in the biotech industry, I used HeLa cells to conduct many experiments. What is sad about this whole story, is that neither she nor her family received any compensation for the use of these cells. Billions of dollars worth of cells have been used.

[This message has been edited by Kelly (2/1/2010)]
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