James Condo AP Biology: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

  • Healthy and malignant cervical cells are taken as a sample from Henrietta Lacks

    Under the leadership of George Gey (the head of tissue culture research at Johns Hopkins), Lawrence Wharton sampled both malignant and healthy cervical cells to be subsequently grown in culture.
  • Development of Polio Vaccine

    In the year prior, a Polio epidemic became a public health crisis. James Salk of the University of Pittsburgh stated he had developed a vaccine for the virus. HeLa cells, which could incessantly grow in moving culture medium, were the perfect alternative to the comparatively costly cells of monkeys. Because HeLa cells were particularly susceptible to poliovirus, scientists at Johns Hopkins and Tuskegee were able to test the effectiveness of Salk’s vaccine.
  • HeLa cells become the first cells ever to be cloned

    Since HeLa cells were a sample from a plethora of Lacks’s cervical cells, scientists cloned HeLa cells to isolate traits in individual cells. This was done by a group of Colorado scientists, and their breakthroughs subsequently assisted in stem cell isolation, IVF, and animal cloning.
  • Cells are discovered to be able to survive subsequent to nucleus removal

  • Correct chromosome count discovered (46)

    A Texas scientist made chromosomes in HeLa cells expand and separate by mixing the cells with the incorrect liquid. 46 chromosomes were determined to be the correct quantity, leading to the discoveries of genetic disorders due to an incorrect number of chromosomes (E.g. Down syndrome with an extra 21st chromosome, and Turner syndrome with a missing/partially missing sex chromosome).
  • Chester Southam begins to research the impacts of malignant HeLa cell injections on both cancer patients and healthy test subjects

    Southam non-consensually injected HeLa cells into both cancer patients and healthy Ohio prisoners. HeLa cells metastasized in current cancer patients, whilst being deterred by the immune systems of healthy individuals. Because of his research, some hoped that humans could inoculate individuals against cancer.
  • The first human/animal hybrid cells are created

    It was discovered cells could fuse together when clumped in culture, via a process known as somatic cell fusion (AKA “cell sex”). Subsequently, Henry Harris and John Watkins fused human and mouse cells, eventually leading to the mapping of traits for particular genes.
  • The "HeLa Bomb" is uncovered

    Geneticist Stanley Gartler’s study noted that HeLa cells may have contaminated innumerable cell cultures (describing his discovery as a “technical problem”), thus nullifying (or at least bringing into question), years of prior research.
  • The impacts of Salmonella for humans was better understood

    HeLa cells infected with virus to research how it attacks human cells.
  • HPV discovered by Harold Zur Hausen to lead to cancer

    The German virologist Harald zur Hausen discovered that HeLa cells were infected with multiple strains of HPV-18, which he suspected led to cervical cancer. Eventually, it would be discovered that the virus inserted its DNA into Lacks’s cells, causing the p53 gene (which prevents tumors) to stop working. Eventually led to the development of an HPV vaccine.
  • Richard Axel and other researchers discover genetic requirements for HIV infections

    Richard Axel and others inserted DNA from blood cells into HeLa cells, making HeLa susceptible to HIV. This assisted in scientists better understanding the genetic conditions in which one can be infected by the virus.
  • Yale scientist discovers telomerase via HeLa cells

    Telomerase, a substance found in cancer cells, regenerates telomeres at the ends of chromosomes (which normally unravel with age, leading to cell death). Due to this substance, cancer could grow and reproduce incessantly. Through this discovery, researchers could better understand cancer itself, as well as what held the onus for HeLa immortality.
  • Human cell impact of Tuberculosis virus discovered

    Researchers inserted the TB virus into HeLa cells in order to examine the manners in which the illness impacts human cells.
  • Nanotechnology researchers use HeLa cells

    HeLa cells were injected with nanoparticles by researchers, ones which could allocate necessary substances in order to less invasive in true procedures.