About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us

Cancer Cells Removed from a Woman Helped Save Millions of Lives

by Savitha C Muppala on October 6, 2010 at 6:59 PM
 Cancer Cells Removed from a Woman Helped Save Millions of Lives

An African/American woman has occupied a pride of place in medical science,after the cancer cells removed from her body following her death in 1951,has helped save millions of lives.

Henrietta Lacks, a tobacco farming mum-of-five, was a descendant of slaves and died of cervical cancer in a segregated ward at John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, as black and white patients were barred from mixing.


But shortly before she died at the age of 31, cancer cells were removed from her body without her permission, and research carried out on them helped bring about breakthroughs in polio, Aids and IVF.

The cells have helped develop the cervical cancer vaccine, shed light on TB and salmonella and pushed forward gene therapy and stem cell techniques.

Her cells were the first to have their DNA mapped and were even shot into space in 1960 to test its potential effects on astronauts.

Known as HeLa cells, taken from the first letters of Lacks' names, they are still used in most labs across the globe and have made billions for the drugs industry.

Scientist Rebecca Skloot, who wrote a new book titled 'The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks', said she became obsessed with HeLa cells during a school biology lesson and wanted to know where they came from.

"My teacher said these amazing cells came from a woman who died in the Fifties. But she didn't know any more about her - I wanted to know who she was," the Sun quoted Skloot as saying.

"There's not a single person in the world who hasn't benefited from these cells in some way. Whether you've had a vaccine or taken tablets or medication, in some way Henrietta has made your life better.

"But there is still a lot of mystery around these cells. They have been intensely studied yet there is still no explanation as to why her cells grew while others didn't," she added.

Source: ANI
Font : A-A+



Recommended Readings

Latest Cancer News

Personalized Vaccine and T Cell Therapy for Ovarian Cancer Patients
The combination of the personalized cancer vaccine with ACT led to ovarian cancer control in few patients within a span of three months, stated study results.
Kinase-Targeted Therapy Revolutionizes Colorectal Cancer Care
Uncovering key kinases in tumor growth and invasion is crucial for improving targeted therapies in advanced-stage colorectal cancer.
Novel Photo-Oxidation Therapy Holds Promise for Anticancer Treatment
The study findings validate metal-enhanced photo-oxidation for future metal-based anticancer drugs.
Mutations in 11 Genes Linked to Aggressive Prostate Cancer
Mutations in 11 genes are linked to aggressive forms of prostate cancer, which may present novel therapeutic and therapy options.
Link Between Poor Oral Health and Head & Neck Cancer Survival Uncovered
Improved oral health, as indicated by the count of natural teeth and dental appointments preceding the diagnosis, correlated with enhanced head and neck cancer survival rates.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot

Cancer Cells Removed from a Woman Helped Save Millions of Lives Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests