What Are HeLa Cells & Use Of HeLa Cells In Researches?

What Are HeLa Cells and Use Of HeLa Cells In Researches
Source: NIST

Did you know, which were the world’s first immortal human cell line? I know most of us do not know about it, so HeLa cells are the first immortal human cell line. This cell line developed from a sample of cervical cancer cells which was taken from an African-American woman, Henrietta Lacks, on February 8, 1951. The name of this cell line, HeLa, also came from the name of the same African-American woman Henrietta Lacks, the name was composed by the mixing first two letters of Henrietta Lack’s first and last name. Henrietta Lacks herself did not even know about the removal of this cell line from her cells. After researching on these cell line, In 1953, Theodor Puck and Philip Marcus made a clone of HeLa, which became the first human cell to be cloned and then freely distributed samples of HeLa to other researchers.

Since the cells’ first mass replications, they have been used by researchers in several types of experiments, including disease research, gene mapping, the effects of toxic substances on organisms and radiation effects on humans. Although the primary use of the Hela cell-line was for cancer research but HeLa cells gave many other medical breakthroughs and gave approximately 11,000 patents.

Henrietta Lacks the first owner of HeLa cells
Henrietta Lacks

Why HeLa Cells Are Known As Immortal Cells?

These were the first human cells that grew up in a laboratory that was naturally “immortal”, which means that they do not die after a certain number of cell division. Usually, human cell culture dies within a few days after a set number of cell divisions, which process is called senescence. This causes problem for the researchers because experiments with using normal cells can not be repeated on identical cells (clones), nor can the same cells be used for extended study. Cell biologist George Otto Gay took one of the HeLa cells and divide that cell, and found that if the cell was given proper nutrients and appropriate environment then the culture survived indefinitely. The original cells continued to mutate.

Hela cells are able to split frequently, they have an enzyme called telomerase, overactive telomerase rebuilds telomeres after each division, prevents cellular aging and cellular senescence, and allows permanent division of cells. Now, Hela has many strains, all get from the same cell. Along with this, HeLa cells grow easily and abnormally fast; they double cellular count in only 24 hours, making them ideal for large-scale testing. They grow so fast that they can contaminate other cell cultures and overtake them. Although there are other immortal human cells also exist but HeLa cell line is the first among them.

HeLa Cells Use in Research

As I mentioned above, HeLa cell line used by researchers in several kinds of experiments such as disease research, gene mapping, the effects of toxic substances on organisms and radiation effects on humans, etc. In all these uses, in my opinion, the most important application of HeLa cells is in the development of the polio vaccine, and that was when polio was becoming one of the biggest deadly diseases. In 1953, a cell culture factory was established to supply salk and other labs along with HeLa cells, And in less than a year, the salak vaccine was prepared for human trials. Hela cells were also used in testing how the Parvo virus infects the cells of humans, dogs, and cats. These cells have also been used to research on viruses such as an orophu virus (OROV).

In the year 2011, Hela cells were used in the researches of the novel Hepatamethin Dye IR-808 and other analogs, which are currently available for their unique uses in medical diagnostics, the development of theranostics, the individualized treatment of cancer patients with the aid of PDT, co-administration with other medicine, and irradiation. Also in the year 2014, HeLa cells were shown to be viable cell lines for tumor xenografts in C57BL / 6 naked mice, and later on to investigate the Vivo effects of fluoxetine and cisplatin on cervical cancer.

Read Also: Why Do Medical Researchers Use Mice for lab experiments?

So this everything about the world’s first immortal human cells, HeLa cells. Hopefully, now you may have understood what is HeLa cells and it’s immortality and advantages in researches. Still, if you any questions about HeLa cell line so you can ask us in the comments section.

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