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Hela cells

  1. Jun 10, 2010 #1
    I just read this article and began wondering if the woman hadn't died from cancer, would she have lived forever?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2010 #2
    Negative. HeLa cells came from the cancer and AFAIK they aren't even human. These cells are what killed her, not made her immortal. If a person 'had these' cells in them they too would die. They would just out compete your human cells.
  4. Jun 10, 2010 #3

    Andy Resnick

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  5. Jun 10, 2010 #4
    Really? From what I've read on them (little admittedly) they aren't human cells due to them being largely aneuploid.

    Thanks for links though :tongue:.

    276$, maybe I should buy some.
  6. Jun 10, 2010 #5


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    There was an interesting book on the history of HeLa that came out recently, also an interesting http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123232331" [Broken].

    zomgwtf: That sounds like a strange criteron.. Aren't people with Down syndrome humans?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Jun 11, 2010 #6
    Are her cancer cells any indication that her normal cells were anything special?
  8. Jun 11, 2010 #7

    Andy Resnick

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    I agree, it's a fascinating story. We spent a recitation period last year discussing Henrietta Lacks,the ethical issues that surround HeLa cells, and their initial collection. Not to mention the lack of renumeration/recognition due her family.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Jun 11, 2010 #8
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  10. Jun 12, 2010 #9
    Take a Human genome. Add one or more HPV genomes. Scramble. Evolve. The chromosomes are recognizably human. Some argue HeLa is a new species. Well evolved for infecting and out-competing other cell lines. HeLa is often not allowed in labs.
  11. Jun 13, 2010 #10


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    No. Her cancer cells were special only because it was new technology for the time. One of the issues today with cell lines like that is that they've gone through so many passages that the cell lines don't even necessarily behave like the originals; in other words, additional mutations have evolved along the way. There is value to trying something out for the first time on a cell line rather than a living organism in terms of ethical considerations, but those findings also have to be interpreted with extreme caution because those cell lines are NOT behaving like normal cells in an organism just by nature of being immortalized.
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