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Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks

H412/0187

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Credit

OBSTETRICS & GYNAECOLOGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY OBSTETRICS & GYNAECOLOGY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Henrietta Lacks, after whom HeLa cells are named, standing outside her home in Baltimore, USA. HeLa cells are the first human cell line to be cultured for research into cancer. The source of the cells was an epidermoid carcinoma biopsy from the cervix of Henrietta Lacks aged 31. The tumour proved invulnerable to treatment and she died of cervical cancer 8 months later. At the time, scientists had no success growing cancer cells in the laboratory. HeLa cells, however, thrived. In the decades since 1952, HeLa cells have been used in research around the world. Photograph taken several years before Henrietta Lacks death. She died in 1951.

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