Henrietta Lacks (part 2)

Mrs. Henrietta Lacks
And Her Cells (HeLa)
Scientific and Sociological Overview
Cell “Refresher”
Potter, JJ, HeLa Cells (Differential Interference Contrast Microscopy)
The cell is the basic unit of life
Rough ER
Smooth ER
Cell Membrane
The Nucleus contains the cell’s genetic
material (genome)
Genetic material in the form of DNA Molecules are organized
into structures called chromosomes
HeLa cells stained with
Hoechst dye for DNA
There are more than 200 different
types of cells in your body
Red Cells
White cell
Liver Hepatocytes
Neural Cells
Skin Fibroblast
Liver Stellate Cell
Fat Cells
Kidney Cells
Cells are Organized into Tissues
Multiple Tissues form Organs
Figure 1. Purves et al., Life: The Science of Biology, 4th Edition, Sinauer Associates
How Many Bricks are in The ESB?
There are
10 Million bricks in The
Empire State Building
How Many Cells are in your Body?
More Than 10 Trillion !!!
= 1 million Empire
State Buildings
What do scientists do with cells?
•Tissue culture is the growth of
tissues and/or cells under
artificial conditions
•Henrietta Lacks’ cells were
named He La cells
•HeLa cells were the 1st to be kept
alive outside of the body
HeLa Cells - The first immortal
human cell line
HeLa Cells – The Launchpad for
Advances in Biomedical Research
Vaccines (Polio, HPV, Etc)
Genomics / Epigenetics
Virology (HIV, HPV-18)
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Recombinant Protein
Production (Insulin)
Tissue Culture
Insulin Receptor
Drug Discovery
Cancer Research
Controversy Surrounding HeLa
• Full Disclosure of Research Intentions
• Privacy Issues
• Social Justice issues
• Ownership Issues
• Historical African American distrust
of medical research based on past
To Learn More
(1) NPR “Fresh Air” Interview - Listen online at:
(2) The book by Rebecca Skloot
(3) Consider contributing to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation
(4) Attend 2nd annual Henrietta Lacks recognition event, tentatively Oct 1 2011 in Turner

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