Event 1: Henrietta's cells help develop a polio vaccine in 1952
Jonas Salk had taken HeLa cells and had used them to help develop a vaccine to polio. He had been testing his cure on monkeys, but their cells had died, and he needed to test the cure on a large scale to make sure it was a safe option. HeLa cells were donated to help with the development of the vaccine. These cells grew at a extreme rate and allowed Salk to test his vaccine and ensure that it cured the polio virus.
Event 2: Also in 1952 the Tuskegee Institute opened the first HeLa factory
The Tuskegee Institute opened the HeLa factory in 1952. This created a major change in the transportation of HeLa from lab to lab. It also had a hand in helping with the polio vaccine, because they supplied the HeLa cells to Sulk. This institute was run by 6 black scientists which eventually grew to 35. This institution produced the largest amount of HeLa for a long time, which was contradicted by the current syphilis studies they were doing on black males.
Event 3: HeLa cells become the first cells to be cloned in 1953
HeLa cells had been the first cells cloned at this point and became an important part of the family's understanding. With this discovery, many scientific breakthroughs had been made. But, with this came a large misunderstanding with the family. Deborah and her siblings thought these cells were her actual cells and not her cancer cells, so when they heard of this they though their mother had been recreated. This opened doors for Deborah and her family and also to the world of science.
HeLa cells contaminating other cells
Event 4: Stanely Gartler announces that HeLa is contaminating other cell lines.
When Gartler made this announcement not many believed him, but as time wore on people took his theory seriously, and thanks to this scientist could understand that HeLa is a much more powerful cell line than they expected. With this discovery, many medicines and breakthroughs could be reached through the contamination of HeLa, and more precautionary measures could take place.
Event 5: George Gey dies from pancreatic cancer in 1970
After working with cells, cell culture, and cancer cells for many years George Gey dies of pancreatic cancer. This is both ironic and sad. The irony is that this man has devoted his life to using cells to benefit science, yet his own cells were damaged during this process. The sad part is that after many years of studying the cells of others, the scientific world lost a man who knew so much. His own cells were flawed as he was learning about the flaws of others.