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Thread: Unwitting Heroine of Modern Medical Science~Henrietta Lacks

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    Default Unwitting Heroine of Modern Medical Science~Henrietta Lacks




    On Feb. 1, 1951, Henrietta Lacks--mother of five, native of rural southern Virginia, resident of the Turner Station neighborhood in Dundalk--went to Johns Hopkins Hospital with a worrisome symptom: spotting on her underwear.

    She was quickly diagnosed with cervical cancer. Eight months later, despite surgery and radiation treatment, the Sparrows Point shipyard worker's wife died at age 31 as she lay in the hospital's segregated ward for blacks.

    Not all of Henrietta Lacks died that October morning, though. She unwittingly left behind a piece of herself that still lives today.
    Thank you bala

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    While she was in Hopkins' care, researchers took a fragment of Lacks' tumor and sliced it into little cubes, which they bathed in nutrients and placed in an incubator.

    The cells, dubbed "HeLa" for Henrietta Lacks, multiplied as no other cells outside the human body had before, doubling their numbers daily.

    Their dogged growth spawned a breakthrough in cell research;
    never before could investigators reliably experiment on such cell cultures because they would weaken and die before meaningful results could be obtained.

    On the day of Henrietta's death, the head of Hopkins' tissue-culture research lab, Dr. George Gey, went before TV cameras, held up a tube of HeLa cells, and announced that a

    new age of medical research had begun--one that, someday, could produce a cure for cancer.







    Cells descended from those Hopkins researchers took from Lacks' tumor before her death have been used to seek cures for polio,
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    In the half-century since Henrietta Lacks' death, her tumor cells--whose combined mass is probably much larger than Lacks was when she was alive--have continually been used for research into cancer, AIDS, the effects of radiation and toxic substances, gene mapping, and countless other scientific pursuits.

    Dr. Jonas Salk used HeLa to help develop his polio vaccine in the early '50s. The cells are so hardy that they took over other tissue cultures, researchers discovered in the 1970s, leading to reforms in how such cultures are handled. In the biomedical world, HeLa cells are as famous as lab rats and petri dishes.
    Thank you bala

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    Henrietta's family didn't know her cells still lived, much less how important they had become. After Gey died in 1970, the secret came out. But it was not until 1975, when a scientifically savvy fellow dinner-party guest asked family members if they were related to the mother of the HeLa cell, that Lacks' descendants came to understand her critical role in medical research.


    The concept was mind-blowing--in a sense, it seemed to Lacks' family,

    she was being kept alive in the service of science. "It just kills me," says Henrietta's daughter, Deborah Lacks-Pullum, now 52 and still living in Baltimore, "to know my mother's cells are all over the world."




    Thank you bala

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    good to know.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by basanti<<< View Post
    In the half-century since Henrietta Lacks' death, her tumor cells--whose combined mass is probably much larger than Lacks was when she was alive--have continually been used for research into cancer, AIDS, the effects of radiation and toxic substances, gene mapping, and countless other scientific pursuits.

    Dr. Jonas Salk used HeLa to help develop his polio vaccine in the early '50s. The cells are so hardy that they took over other tissue cultures, researchers discovered in the 1970s, leading to reforms in how such cultures are handled. In the biomedical world, HeLa cells are as famous as lab rats and petri dishes.
    immortal! awesome share.. Archu.

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    Informative share basu

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    Quote Originally Posted by excel01 View Post
    immortal! awesome share.. Archu.
    Quote Originally Posted by deSi_CasaNovA View Post
    Informative share basu


    thnxs .......... that was new for me too..
    Thank you bala

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