The originator of Cell Lines- A woman named Henrietta Lacks.
Heila cells have been used in many other research studies, which have estimated about 70,000 research studies, of which two were awarded the Nobel Prize.
Today, cell lines derived from the animal kingdom’s organisms, including humans, are being grown and used in various research laboratories around the world. These cells can continue to divide when the appropriate growth conditions are available.
The first cell lines to be developed were called HeLa cells, taken from a young African-American girl named Henrietta Lacks, who died of a malignant cervical adenoma in 1951.
When visiting the Department of Gynecology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, specialists discovered a tumor in the cervix. When they took a biopsy of this tumor, a sample was given to the tissue culture laboratory at Johns Hopkins University and specifically to the scientist George Jay and his colleagues who had an obsession with isolating healthy tissue or Pathogenicity and its preservation in the laboratory as temporary or fixative organelles, or as cell lines.
What distinguished the HeLa cells from the rest of the isolated cells in Johns Hopkins was their continuous ability to continuously grow and divide. Before that, it was possible to isolate and grow cells from cancer samples, but they often died before studies were completed. In contrast, HeLa cells divide continuously in the laboratory as long as the appropriate growth conditions are present.
In the beginning, securing the growth conditions was by using a culture medium made of chicken plasma, extracted from cow embryo, as well as human umbilical cord serum, using the technique of “roller-tube culture,” which is tubes that rotate continuously to distribute the nutrient medium of the cells homogeneously.
Cells out of the laboratory into the world – fighting polio and beyond.
Previously, poliovirus transplantation was limited to the cells of the nervous system, but George Jay was successfully able to implant the virus inside HeLa cells, after which this method was used by the scientist John Andre and his colleagues in his research on the poliovirus.
In 1954, the scientist Jonas Salk used HeLa cells in his experiments on the poliovirus.
This was only the beginning of the use of HeLa cells as an important tool in scientific research, as they were used in other research projects, starting with the identification of the cause of AIDS in 1980, which is HIV, and even recent studies with the suffix «omics» that study genomics, DNA transcriptomics and proteomics-based on the genome.
HeLa cells have been used in many other research studies that have estimated about 70,000 research studies. Two of them received a Nobel Prize. One was in 2008 to discover that human papillomavirus (HPV) was a causative agent of cervical tumor, and the other in 2009 was to discover the telomerase enzyme that protects the telomere of the chromosome and thus protects the chromosome from disintegration.
After acknowledging that Heila cells are immortal, they do not die. The scientist George Jay sent samples of it to other scientists in the United States of America and elsewhere. Because of the ability of cells to divide very actively, HeLa cells proliferated in succession in various research laboratories around the world. However, from 1960 onwards, some scientific reports were published on the potential for Heila cells to contaminate other cell cultures, and at first the report showed inter-species contamination as being easily detectable.
In 1967, scientist Stanley Gartler published a report stating the presence of contamination within the same cell type, using the technique of enzymatic isotope analysis by analyzing the electrophoresis results of several types of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and phosphoglucomyutase in 19 cell lines.
It was found that the isotope of the enzyme glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase type (A) is very prevalent in the African American peoples, and when combined with the isotope of the enzyme phosphoglycumutase seen in these cell lines, it was found that this result suggests that all cell lines belong to the same origin.
Of course, Heila cells are not the only cells associated with contamination of cell cultures, and one study found that cell lines thought to be human breast cancer cells were contaminated with other intra-species and non-inter-species as well. And other cells were thought to be human cells, but are animal cells, and other cells were thought to belong to a monkey family, but scientists discovered that they are human cells. And the problem of contamination of cell cultures still exists until now in tissue culture laboratories.
So what is the reason why HeLa cells outperform other cell lines?
There is a high possibility that this is due to the transfer of samples from Heila cells outside their primary laboratory. Their reproduction in many different laboratories and their ability to divide very actively is the reason for their superiority rather than being continually growing. Still, it is possible that they were arbitrarily chosen as superior to other Cellular lines.