Requiem Pour Henrietta
Médecine sciences : M/S 2010 May ; 26(5): 529-33
Fifty years after Henrietta Lacks died of aggressive glandular cervical cancer, the first cell line - HeLa cell line - is the workhorse of laboratories everywhere. It helped to produce drugs for numerous diseases, including poliomyelitis, Parkinson's, leukemias. But they are so outrageously robust that they contaminated hundred of other cell lines, as far away as Russia. For decades, biologists worked with contaminated cell lines and today, the problem is not yet solved. But the story of HeLa cells is also a moving reflection of racial and ethical issues in medicine in the late half-twentieth century in the USA.
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