How Hela Cells Have Affected An Abundance Of People Essay

1049 Words Aug 16th, 2015 5 Pages
Though some might not know a thing about them, HeLa cells have affected an abundance of people. Original HeLa cells were cut from the cervix of the African American woman known as Henrietta Lacks. Born as Loretta Lacks, Henrietta was born in Roanoke, Virginia on August 1, 1920. At the age of 30, Henrietta was diagnosed with “Epidermoid carcinoma of the cervix, Stage I” (24). Her cancer could not be defeated and Henrietta died October 4, 1951. Before her death, Dr. George Gey of George Hopkins Hospital cut a piece of her cancerous cervix without Henrietta’s permission. After her death, Gey tested Henrietta’s cells and found her cells would grow in culture, unlike all the other cells Gey has tested in the past. Gey collected and cultured the “first immortal human cells” (8). He distributed Henrietta’s cells all around the world, and there was no end of supply. Scientists experimented on these cells, injecting them with viruses, and bacteria. They knew these cells as HeLa, but did not know the name of the woman whom the cells were taken from, nor did they care. Once people wanted to put a name to these immortal cells, the media misnamed the woman and called her Henrietta Lakes, Helen Lane, and Helen Larson. In September of 1966, HeLa cells started contaminating other cell cultures. HeLa cells moved from lab to lab, person to person. The media did not know who Henrietta Lacks was because they assumed her name was Helen Lane. Soon, the media and the people became…

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