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First Immortal Cells Cultured
Using the cancerous tissue cut from Henrietta's cervix, George Gey successfully cultures the first immortal human cell line. HeLa cells would improve and standardize the field of tissue culture.
The Tuskegee Institute opens the first “HeLa factory,” supplying cells to laboratories and researchers. Within a few years, a company named Microbiological Associates would begin selling HeLa for profit.
Scientists use HeLa cells to help develop the polio vaccine.
Birth of Virology
Researchers infect HeLa cells with many diseases such as mumps and measles, which leads to the creation of the modern field of virology.
Live Cell Transport
HeLa cells become the first living cells shipped via postal mail.
Human Genetics: Number of Human Chromosomes
Scientists had long incorrectly believed that human cells contained 48 chromosomes. They struggled to get an accurate count because chromosomes clumped together.
Geneticists discover that when a stain called hematoxylin is mixed with a HeLa cell, its chromosomes spread out and become visible. This allows the geneticists to accurately determine that a normal human cell contains 46 chromosomes.
HeLa cells become the first cells ever cloned. The early cloning technology that started because of HeLa cells led to many other advances that also necessitated the ability to grow cells in culture. Such advances included isolating stem cells, cloning entire animals,and in vitro fertilization
HeLa cells are sent into space in a Soviet satellite prior to the flight of any astronauts. NASA later includes HeLa cells in their first manned mission, and they discover that cancer cells grow faster in space.
In 1954, Chester Southam began to conduct experiments without patient consent to see whether or not injections of HeLa cells could cause cancer.
The Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York finds Southam and a colleague guilty of unprofessional conduct and calls for stricter guidelines regarding human research subjects and informed consent.
Hybridization and Gene Mapping
Scientists fuse HeLa cells with mouse cells and create the first cross-species hybrid. This genetic hybrid allows for advances to be made in the field of gene mapping.
Browse Events List
Henrietta Lacks' immortal cells, known as HeLa, made many scientific and medical advances possible ever since they were harvested. This timeline details these advances and how HeLa was involved in each.
on Jan 21, 2013
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