- November 29, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject: Science and Tech
- HeLa is an immortal cell line used in scientific research. It is the oldest and most commonly used human cell line.
- The line is named after and derived from cervical cancer cells taken on February 8, 1951, from Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African-American mother of five, who died of cancer on October 4, 1951.
- The cell line was found to be remarkably durable and prolific, which allows it to be used extensively in scientific study.
- The cells from Lacks’s cancerous cervical tumor were taken without her knowledge or consent, which was common practice at the time.
- Cell biologist George Otto Gey found that they could be kept alive, and developed a cell line. Previously, cells cultured from other human cells would only survive for a few days. Cells from Lacks’s tumor behaved differently.
- HeLa cells are used by scientists to develop a cancer research method that tests whether a cell line is cancerous or not. This method proves so reliable that scientists use it to this day. HeLa cells are taken aboard some of the very first capsules used to explore outer space.
Uses of HeLa cells:
Over the past several decades, this cell line has contributed to many medical breakthroughs, from research on the effects of zero gravity in outer space and the development of polio and COVID-19 vaccines, to the study of leukemia, the AIDS virus and cancer worldwide.
Although many other cell lines are in use today, HeLa cells have supported advances in most fields of medical research in the years since HeLa cells were isolated.