BIO test 4 book notes

BIO test 4 book notes - Printed Page 180 The immortal cells...

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Printed Page 180 The immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks [Resource Table of Contents] HeLa Cells   These rapidly reproducing cancer cells have been cultured in many  laboratories and have contributed greatly to biomedical research. On January 28, 1951, 31-year-old Henrietta Lacks found blood spotting her underwear.  Sensing that something was wrong, the mother of five children convinced her husband  to take her to nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. An examination of  her  cervix  revealed the reason for the blood spots: a  tumor  the size of a quarter. Her  doctor sent a piece of the  tumor  to a pathologist in the clinical laboratory, who confirmed  that the  tumor  was  malignant . A week later, Henrietta was back in the hospital, where physicians treated her  tumor  with  radium to try to kill it. Before the treatment began, however, they removed a small  sample of cells from the  tumor  and sent them to the research laboratory of George and  Margaret Gey, two scientists at Johns Hopkins who had been trying for 20 years to coax  human cells to live and multiply outside the body, or  in vitro . They were attempting this  in the belief that if they could get human cells to thrive  in vitro , they could use those cells  to find a cure for cancer. They hit paydirt with Henrietta’s  tumor  cells, which grew more  vigorously than any cells the Geys had previously cultured.
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Henrietta Lacks   Mrs. Lacks, shown here in front of her home in Baltimore, Maryland,  died of cancer in 1951. She left a legacy in the form of cultured cells from the  tumor  that  killed her. Unfortunately, the  tumor  cells also grew rapidly in Henrietta Lacks’s body. Within a few  months, cancerous cells had spread to almost all of her  organs . She died on October 4,  1951. On that same day, George Gey appeared on national television displaying a test  tube containing her cells—which he named HeLa cells—and saying that a cure for  cancer was near. Because of their robust ability to reproduce themselves, HeLa cells became a staple of  much important basic and applied biomedical research. In controlled settings, the cells  could be infected with  viruses , and they were instrumental in developing the supply of  poliovirus that led to the first vaccine against that disease. Although Henrietta herself  had never been outside of Virginia and Maryland, her cells have traveled all over the  world. HeLa cells even went into space aboard the space shuttle. Over the past half- century, tens of thousands of research articles have been published using information  obtained from Henrietta’s cells. But the hope that HeLa cells would lead to a quick cure 
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