Aggressive cervical cancer tumor killed in an amazing twist of fate Henrietta Lacks a 31-year-old African-American mother Essential tool it helped the biomedical field flourish in the 20th century.
As Cancer researcher people who use HeLa cells in my daily work can be unbelievable.
Lux’s cervical cancer cells called “HeLa” after the first two letters of her first and last name immortal, Most cells continue to divide when they die. This ability to survive through an infinite generation of cells makes them invaluable to scientists experimenting with human cells.
Why HeLa cells are important
Prior to the advent of HeLa cells, scientists wanted a way to grow and study human cells in the laboratory, doing research that was not possible in living humans.Lux cervical cancer cells Succeeded in cultivation in Petri dishes in 1951 scientists now have a cost-effective and easy-to-use source of cells that expands their ability to conduct research.
From Polio When COVID-19 vaccine To Cancer research when Sequencing the human genome HeLa cells have played a major role in many scientific discoveries and advances.
The story of Henrietta Lax Ongoing bioethics case because these cells were taken from her during a regular cervical cancer biopsy and then given to the researcher without her consent. General method at the time.
Lux family Long-tried legal action they have unjust enriched the company they say from Henrietta’s cells. A 2010 book Journalist Rebecca Skloot details how HeLa cells affect both science and the Lux family.
But how did Lux’s cells become immortal?
Lux was unaware that the cells in the cervix were infected with the virus that causes one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Human papillomavirus, Or HPV. There are more than 150 types of HPV, but only a few groups are responsible. Cervical cancer. actually, 99.7% of cervical cancer HPV positive.
Fortunately, most people infected with high-risk HPV can get rid of the virus before it becomes cancerous. HPV vaccination it can prevent more than 90% of HPV-related cancers.However 10 percent of people HPV infection in the cervix causes cancer. Sadly, Henrietta was one of the unlucky people.
Her misfortune helped elucidate how HPV works.Since then Received the Nobel Prize discovered in 1976 The important role of HPV for cervical cancer, many scientists, including myself, are investigating HPV infections causes cancer.
The carcinogenic potential of the virus has been found to be related to the two proteins it produces.These viral proteins Target and destroy two major human proteins that protect against cancer, p53 and retinoblastoma (Rb).
P53 and Rb act as sentries to prevent cells from accumulating harmful genetic mutations and stopping division after a set number of cycles.My research focuses on how HPV proteins interact Tumor suppression protein in various types of human cells, including HeLa.
Most cells divide 40-60 times before they become too old to function properly and are killed naturally. However, HPV attacks the sentry while suppressing uncontrolled division, allowing cells to divide permanently.
After Lux is infected HPV 18 her cervical cells, the second most common high-risk type of virus, have lost the ability to produce these sentinels. Without a growth check, her cells would divide indefinitely and become “immortal.”Until today, with test tubes 70,000 studies they made it possible.