Hela Cells

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Henrietta Lacks was a 30- year - old black mother of five when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. She went to Johns Hopkins hospital to have the tumor looked at; they took a sample and sent her home. A few weeks later, when Dr. Lawrence Wharton Jr. was prepping Henrietta for treatment he took two samples from her one from the tumor and one from her healthy cervix. He never asked Henrietta if he could take these samples from her. Dr. Wharton Jr. took the samples down to Dr. Gey’s lab; he got excited but thought the cells would just die like all the rest. The women in the lab cut the cancer cells, placed them in test tubes, and placed them in the incubator. The next morning the women noticed that there was growth in the test tubes, Henrietta’s cells were growing at a great speed, they doubled over night. That day she cut the cell in half and those two halves grew overnight. Every 24 hours the cells where growing like crabgrass. It seemed like her cancer cells where unstoppable, as long as they had food and warmth. Because of their adaption to growth in tissue cultures plates, HeLa cells are difficult to grow. In 1952, researchers injected HeLa cells into everything, from mumps to herpes. That year was the worst year of the polio epidemic they used Hela cells to test the vaccine that protected millions. Hela cells made it possible to grow the virus, so they could make a vaccine to fight it. Dr. Gey and his colleagues went on to develop a test, using HeLa cells, to distinguish between the many polio strains, some of which had no effect on the human body. Until researchers knew which strain-produced, polio's crippling effects some of which had no effect on the human body. Until researchers knew which strain produced polio's crippling effects, they did not know what they were fighting. Through Henrietta's cells, they found their culprit. With this information, researchers in Pittsburgh created a vaccine, and the National Foundation for Infantile...
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