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Tonight on Science Talk Wednesday:The Story of HeLa Part 2

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Join us on part 2 discussion on with Penny Melquist on the HeLa Cells. These are the Immortal cells of Henrietta Lacks.  Who is Henrietta Lacks?

Henrietta Lacks (born Loretta Pleasant; August 1, 1920 –October 4, 1951) was an African-American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the  HeLa cell line, the first immortalized cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research. An immortalized cell line will reproduce indefinitely under specific conditions, and the HeLa cell line continues to be a source of invaluable medical data to the present day.

Lacks was the unwitting source of these cells from a tumor biopsed during treatment for cervical cancer at John Hopkins Hopsital in Baltimore, Maryland U.S., in 1951. These cells were then cultured by George Otto Gey who created the cell line known as HeLa, which is still used for medical research. As was then the practice, no consent was obtained to culture her cells, nor were she or her family compensated for their extraction or use.Even though some information about the origins of HeLa's immortalized cell lines was known to researchers after 1970, the Lacks family was not made aware of the line's existence until 1975. With knowledge of the cell line's genetic provenance becoming public, its use for medical research and for commercial purposes continues to raise concerns about privacy and patients' rights. Tune in, chat in and join us in a though provocking discussion on the HeLa cells. Tune in and Lets Talk!