How HeLa cells changed Science By: Nereyda espinoza

Henrietta Lacks died from cervix cancer when she was 31. She left five children in total, four with her husband and one in a hospital. She figured something was wrong after she had her fifth child. She would say that she felt a knot in her womb. It turned out that her cells were immortal, which means that they still live and grow.Henrietta died of an unusually aggressive strain of cervical cancer.

Deborah- Henrietta's fourth child.

Doctors started to do many different experiments with her cells. Gey began sending Henrietta’s cells from his cell culture he had to lots of scientists all over the world.


A HeLa cell is an immortal cell, which means that after the person dies, the cells still live. They have been important to science because they were the first cells ever cloned.

5 Events that happened in the book...

HeLa cells become the first living cells shipped via postal mail. (1952) Gey started sending them all over the world to different scientists.

The Tuskegee Institute opens the first “HeLa factory” supplying cells to laboratories and researchers and operating as a nonprofit. Within a few years, a company named Microbiological Associates would begin selling HeLa for profit. (1952) They started selling HeLa cells and would get money. Henrietta's family never got any money or help for what her cells had done.

Scientists use HeLa cells to help develop the polio vaccine. (1952) Scientists were able to do many experiments and come up with many different cures.

The Lacks family learns for the first time that Henrietta’s cells are still alive. (1973) Years after Henrietta’s death, her family found out that her cells were alive because the doctors never told them.

Portions of Henrietta’s medical records are published without her family’s knowledge or consents. (1985) Her medical records wee given to other people so they could find out ore about her and then make it into a story for the media.

Henrietta and David

" Lawrence called his father to tell him what Bobbette had heard, and Day didn't know what to think. Henrietta's alive? he thought. It didn't make any sense. He'd seen her body at the funeral in Clover himself. Did they go dig it up? Or maybe they did something to her during that autopsy?"

I chose this passage because it was the first time Henrietta’s family found out that her cells were still alive. Her husband couldn't figure out how that was possible. After they found out, Lawrence called the hospital. They never answered but afterwards, they wanted DNA samples from them. They weren't sure if they trusted them. It would of been even longer for them to find out about her cells if Bobbette didn't hear about them. They couldn't believe how her cells were so known before they even knew about them. Henrietta's children wanted to sue the hospital for not telling them about the cells.

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