The Ghosts of HeLa: How Cell Line Misidentification Contaminates the Scientific Literature

October 12, 2017

(PhysOrg) – HeLa cells are used in biomedical research around the world. HeLa was named after Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cervical cancer cells were biopsied and used for medical research. Those cells were found to reproduce indefinitely in the lab, making them the world’s first immortalised cell line and one of the most important and commonly used cell lines in medical research to this day. HeLa cells were thrust into the public eye in recent years thanks to the book and the made-for-TV film of the same name The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Unfortunately, HeLa cells have been contaminating other cell cultures for decades.

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