HeLa timeline

  • Tissue sample removed

    Tissue sample taken from Henrietta Lacks without her consent after she came in to John Hopkins Hospital.
  • WAAM television talk show

    George Gey goes on WAAM tv to discuss why he believes cancer can be conquered and showed a vial of HeLa cells.
  • Cell sharing and experiments

    Gey sends HeLa cells to anyone who wanted to experiment.
    - scientists exposed HeLa cells to "toxins, radiation, infections...drugs"
    - studied immune suppression and cancer growth via injections
  • More samples

    Gey's assistant took more samples but they just died in culture as her body was so contaminated with toxins.
  • Death

    Henrietta Lacks dies at 12:15 am.
  • Autopsy

    Gey and his assistant preform an autopsy on the body of Henrietta Lacks and more samples were taken.
    - day estimated
  • Polio Vaccine

    Jonas Salk develops the first ever polio vaccine (with help from HeLa cells).
  • NFIP field trial

    The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis began to organize "the largest field trail ever" to test the polio vaccine.
  • HeLa and polio

    Gey and a NFIP worker infected HeLa cells with polio.
    - HeLa was found to be more susceptible
    - Perfect to use for neutralization tests
  • Cell production factory

    Tuskegee Institute developed the first cell production factory that first started with a single vial of HeLa.
    - month estimated
  • Cells shipped

    Gey successfully shipped live cells in the mail for the first time.
  • Virology

    Scientists all over began buying HeLa cells and using them to see how cells reacted to different viruses and to hopefully understand them better. Helped create the field of virology.
    - date estimated
  • Clones

    Scientists clone the HeLa cells, the first human cells to ever be cloned.
  • Chromosomes

    An accidental mishap led to the discovery that cells have 46 chromosomes.
  • Cold War experiments

    • HeLa exposed to large amounts of radiation to see how nuclear weapons destroyed cells
    • HeLa placed in centrifuges to see how cells work under pressure
  • Other experiments

    • HeLa used to test if products caused damage
    • HeLa used to test steroids, chemotherapy, hormones, vitamins, vaginitis
  • Hemorrhagic Fever

    Gey takes HeLa cells to the East to study hemorrhagic fever.
  • Many discoveries

    • Group of researchers developed a method for freezing cells without harming them (HeLa help).
      • allows better shipment of cells
      • scientists could now "pause" cells are different parts in experiments - spontaneous transformation
    • date estimated
  • Southam experiment

    Southam loaded a syringe with HeLa and injected them into patients with cancer to see if HeLa would grow.
    - it did
  • Southam experiments 2

    Southam wanted to do the same experiment on those without cancer.
    - worked
    - with each injection, their immunity to it increased
  • Informed consent

    Southam's experiments led to the the making of the term "informed consent" present in the law.
  • Space Launch

    HeLa cells are launched into space to test what low gravity would do you human cells.
  • Cross-species and human genomes

    Harris and Watkins create the first ever cross-speices by fusing mouse and HeLa cells.
    - helped create the first map of the human genome
    - study what genes do and how they work
  • Gene regulation

    Harris fused HeLa with chicken cells and discovered how genes regulate cells.
  • Hybrids

    "Hybrids proved it was possible for DNA from two unrelated individuals...to survive together inside cells without one rejecting the other..."
    - explained the mechanism for rejecting organs
  • HeLa bomb

    Gartler proposes that HeLa cells have contaminated other cell lines.
  • Salmonella infection studies

    Giannella uses HeLa cells to test the different Salmonella strains and their infectiousness.
  • Genetic marker

    McKusick and Hsu mapped 43 genetic markers found in the Lack's DNA that was used to help create a map of Henrietta's DNA.
  • HIV

    Axel infected HeLa cells with HIV and discovered what was necessary for an HIV infection.
  • HPV-18

    A German scientist used HeLa cells to see if HPV-18 really caused cervical cancer.
    - discovered how HPV inserts itself into the DNA
  • T4/CD4 gene

    HeLa cells lead to the discovery of the T4/CD4 gene and receptors that are necessary for HIV to enter the cell.
  • Telomerse and Telomerase

    A group of scientists discovered how the cancer cells kept dividing.
    - telomerase kept rebuilding the telomerse causing the cells to keep living