The Role of Hela Cell in Medical Development

1759 words 8 pages
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells- taken without knowledge- become one of the most important tools in medicine (Rebecca Skloot). According to the scientists who have been growing HeLa for countless experiments, if you could pile HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons- as much as Empire State Buildings (The NY Times).
Long times ago, even during the 19th century, scientist all over the world had started to find the cure for cancer, one of the most feared disease you can ever imagine, simply because you don’t know what the cause and how to turn it off. Cancer started
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Dr Gey at this time, seeing the golden opportunity quickly furthers his research. The problem with cells however, is their essentials. They need space to grow, specifically, glass surface and hence they will be out of space in no time. For the scientists, this is very labor consuming because they have to scrap off the surface and divide the cells in different batch repeatedly in a short time so that those cells did not ran out of spaces. HeLa cells, on the other hand, are not that demanding because they do not need so much space as glass surface to grow. In particular, they can even grow in culture medium that was constantly stirred by magnetic device- the technique that Dr Gey developed, so the cells can now grow in suspension. To grow cells in suspension means that you can grow the cells without the limitation of the space because they can survive on culture medium only (Rebecca Skloot). After some time, Dr Gey and one of his colleagues from NFIP committee- William Scherer work together to test the effect of poliovirus on HeLa cells and they found that Ms Lacks’s cells, indeed, are more susceptible to this virus more than any other cells they had ever tested on. Eventually, HeLa cells was supervised by NFIP and sent to the Distribution Center at Tuskegee