Welcome to the new Cancer Survivors Network website! Existing members can click HERE to review the changes and new features on CSN.

Have you ever heard of research cells called HeLa?

Abbycat2
Abbycat2 Member Posts: 644

I am an avid reader of just about anything- novels, classics, biographies, research papers on uterine CA, etc. , but I have never read anything as bizarre, unbelievable, historic or as profoundly relevant as the true story of a woman called Henrietta Lacks. This woman has done more for the treatment of cancer, as well as for just about every other disease, including polio and HIV, then anyone ever. I would venture to say that no other human being has had such a profound effect on man and woman kind than this poor farmer, an African American woman who died at the age of 31 in 1951 at Johns Hopkins. She had been diagnosed with an extraordinarily aggressive form of cervical cancer. It was the first successful attempt -after many such attempts- by cancer researchers to grow human cancer cells in a test tube. Henrietta's cells were incredibly prolific, so much so that now trillions of her cells have been growing in labs all over the world and deviding now for 64 years! There is a book titled "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. What an eye opener! She explains how cancer grows in a person and why cancer cells in people are "immortal". Darn, that's not good. BTW, Henrietta never gave permission to the medical profession to reproduce her cells and although trillions have been reproduced and sold over the decades,  her husband and four surviving children never saw a cent of that money. They lived for years without basic health care and didn't even know that their wife or their mother was still alive- well, sort of - until 20 years after her rather painful death.  So many of HeLa cells have been reproduced -the designation comes from the first two letters of her first and last names- that all of these cells sold weigh today as much as 100 Empire State Buildings and would circle the circumference of the Earth three times.  Keep in mind that one human cell weighs next to nothing.

I for one am grateful to Ms. Lacks whose life has had such a profound and lasting impact on mankind. Her cells have saved millions of lives over the decades- just from eliminating polio alone. Her cells have even been sent into space! Google HeLa cells for more information. There ought to be a statue erected in her honor!

Comments

  • Editgrl
    Editgrl Member Posts: 903
    Your post

    sent me to Google and Amazon.  What a fascinating story on so many levels!  I am ordering the book and can't wait to read it.  Thanks for sharing this.

    Chris

  • ConnieSW
    ConnieSW Member Posts: 1,578 **
    Editgrl said:

    Your post

    sent me to Google and Amazon.  What a fascinating story on so many levels!  I am ordering the book and can't wait to read it.  Thanks for sharing this.

    Chris

    Book

    It's a fascinating book.

  • Double Whammy
    Double Whammy Member Posts: 2,832
    ConnieSW said:

    Book

    It's a fascinating book.

    Yep, read it

    Read the book a few years ago.  It is indeed a good read.  A little medical history lesson, social history lesson, personal story, and amazing that her cells live on long after she has gone.

    Suzanne

  • molimoli
    molimoli Member Posts: 514
    Gasp! Wow!

    Interesting, a must find book,  Thnx.

  • molimoli
    molimoli Member Posts: 514
    Alert to my oncologist and cancer scientist caring for me

    or just looking for stuff from my person.  I AM CHARGING FOR EVERY ENZYME, etc,etc,etc

     

    Cathy why are you giving me money making ideas?  , My thinking cap is now on my head. Don't any of you lol ,I am serious.

  • Abbycat2
    Abbycat2 Member Posts: 644
    molimoli said:

    Alert to my oncologist and cancer scientist caring for me

    or just looking for stuff from my person.  I AM CHARGING FOR EVERY ENZYME, etc,etc,etc

     

    Cathy why are you giving me money making ideas?  , My thinking cap is now on my head. Don't any of you lol ,I am serious.

    Ha, Moli, maybe we can all get rich selling our cells!

    Instead of HeLa, mine would be called CaVi.  Kind of has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?  I wonder if other types of cancer cells are being grown in the research labs all over the world.  I understand that HeLa cells have actually contaminated other cell cultures in labs because cells can float through the air and end up in another cell medium. 

    Thanks for your great sense of humor, Moli!

    Nuff,

    Cathy  

  • DrienneB
    DrienneB Member Posts: 182
    Henrietta Lacks

    That was a fabulous book! I was weeping at the end. Yes we do owe Henrietta Lacks a vast debt of gratitude. I am also thankful to Rebecca Skloot.

     

  • Abbycat2
    Abbycat2 Member Posts: 644
    DrienneB said:

    Henrietta Lacks

    That was a fabulous book! I was weeping at the end. Yes we do owe Henrietta Lacks a vast debt of gratitude. I am also thankful to Rebecca Skloot.

     

    DrienneB, pretty amazing story

    So really incredible! In so many ways, it is a slice of Americana that embraces the "good, the bad and the ugly". isn't that what we Americans and our 200 plus years of history are about? Think Tuskeegee and how scientists infected African American men with an STD without their knowledge or consent. These scientist did nothing while they observed and recorded details of these men as they proceeded to die. Borders on what the Nazi's did during WWII. Both bizarre and sinister. 

  • molimoli
    molimoli Member Posts: 514
    Abbycat2 said:

    DrienneB, pretty amazing story

    So really incredible! In so many ways, it is a slice of Americana that embraces the "good, the bad and the ugly". isn't that what we Americans and our 200 plus years of history are about? Think Tuskeegee and how scientists infected African American men with an STD without their knowledge or consent. These scientist did nothing while they observed and recorded details of these men as they proceeded to die. Borders on what the Nazi's did during WWII. Both bizarre and sinister. 

    It happens

    All over the world my darling,every day  some unsuspecting person is being used for research in many different ways.Big persons using little persons syndrome.sad and sinester  because these learned pirates sacrificed these   people  whom they see as ' less than'  but sadly I must say out of these evil acts, on the other hand generations are saved , cured,relieved from pain and suffering, better understanding of our bodies and it's functions, leaving me not knowing which emotions to embrace sometimes, Do I stay pissed or do I take a pissed break and embrace the value of the 'stolen' knowledge gained. I really don't know.. The reality of it is all together very sad.

     

    Cathy , humor has kept me out of the mad house, I recommend it all the time,everytime, especially when the going gets tough.

     I have never been there before but may have to go right after my doctor's visit on the 17th, A new doctor with new treatment approach.I am getting another scan as I feel that my 2 tumors now have friends over -in my belly. Not looking forward to the confirmation but I am braced. it's the nature of this beast. I will update. Nuff love.

     

     I am thinking about the get rich thing , I will have a field day with my doctors on Monday trying to trade cells. Will let you know if you have commission coming your way.

     

  • Abbycat2
    Abbycat2 Member Posts: 644
    molimoli said:

    It happens

    All over the world my darling,every day  some unsuspecting person is being used for research in many different ways.Big persons using little persons syndrome.sad and sinester  because these learned pirates sacrificed these   people  whom they see as ' less than'  but sadly I must say out of these evil acts, on the other hand generations are saved , cured,relieved from pain and suffering, better understanding of our bodies and it's functions, leaving me not knowing which emotions to embrace sometimes, Do I stay pissed or do I take a pissed break and embrace the value of the 'stolen' knowledge gained. I really don't know.. The reality of it is all together very sad.

     

    Cathy , humor has kept me out of the mad house, I recommend it all the time,everytime, especially when the going gets tough.

     I have never been there before but may have to go right after my doctor's visit on the 17th, A new doctor with new treatment approach.I am getting another scan as I feel that my 2 tumors now have friends over -in my belly. Not looking forward to the confirmation but I am braced. it's the nature of this beast. I will update. Nuff love.

     

     I am thinking about the get rich thing , I will have a field day with my doctors on Monday trying to trade cells. Will let you know if you have commission coming your way.

     

    Will be thinking of you on the 17th, Moli

    Will be thinking of you on the 17th and hoping that you receive good news.  I was wondering if you've decided to share your cancer diagnosis with your girls?  This must weigh on your mind some.  I have admired your strength and your conviction, which I am certain has helped you through this journey.

    Take Care Sweetie,

    Cathy 

  • molimoli
    molimoli Member Posts: 514
    Abbycat2 said:

    Will be thinking of you on the 17th, Moli

    Will be thinking of you on the 17th and hoping that you receive good news.  I was wondering if you've decided to share your cancer diagnosis with your girls?  This must weigh on your mind some.  I have admired your strength and your conviction, which I am certain has helped you through this journey.

    Take Care Sweetie,

    Cathy 

    Listen to what happened to me 5 days ago,  I had gone to see my regular family doctor to have a chat as she is worried sick about my indecisions re; chemo and the lack of any kind of  treatment,She thinks that one day soon I will get sudden and unbearable pain in my abdomen if the tumors are left to just grow, I also know this but won't spend today worrying about tomorrow, Life taught me how to compartmentalize things, She is a wonderful caring doctor ,she is the very best . I decided to be honest with her and told of my persuit of and determination to have  surgery  else where. and is waiting for reply.

    I could see the worry all over her face , she then made a deal with me , I will keep my appointment on the 17th with the new oncologist at the cancer centre as my old oncologist left the centre(I had intended not to) I agreed, but If I am not comfortable with oncologist suggestions then I will return to her on the 19th at which time she will have me work with her and   a palliative care physician and councellor.This physician will be assigned to me for all support ,mental and physical. my doctor will deal with the medical side,pain management etc.Her other request is that I discuss my illness with my daughters.Out of respect and love for this doctor and remembering that I had made this promise to my neurologist I agreed and meant to go ahead and tell my youngest first (she is 27 and just now finding herself again after her sister's death) I ache at the thought of telling my daughters at this time when I am reasonably well, but there are promises to be kept.

    My daughter called as usual to chit chat, Invited me to see a documentary about the life of Chris Farley (comedian whom we both enjoy) I said " that would be great darling ,and afterwards I have something to share with you"  she replied "ok mom, sounds like a plan ,guess what , You know how I've always wanted to live in New York and kept going seeking opportunities, well my dream has come true, an opportunity has come for me to go so I will be leaving on Oct.15th  I am working my last month in this country for a long while , so I will tell you all about it when I see you, mom I hope you renewed your passport by now , did you"  

    All of that was said in one breath,excited and bubbley with  no pauses, that's my daughter being my daughter. all her decisions are thought out and decisive.

    I can't tell ,won't tell , won't put that handcuff on my own child .A child who wants to live life to its fullest and has carefully laid her plans to do so,

    My other daughter is the family's CNN,  cannot keep a secret she will text her sister as I speak before I even finish my disclosure statement.I am her back-up plans,and she is a crier (spelling ?)

    No can do. Time not right, Their distress will cause me more distress than the reality of this cancer. Telling Anyone in My family is not an option  at this time. I am resolve to live and let live, so to speak.

    A long answer to your short question, lol.

     

     

  • DrienneB
    DrienneB Member Posts: 182
    Abbycat2 said:

    DrienneB, pretty amazing story

    So really incredible! In so many ways, it is a slice of Americana that embraces the "good, the bad and the ugly". isn't that what we Americans and our 200 plus years of history are about? Think Tuskeegee and how scientists infected African American men with an STD without their knowledge or consent. These scientist did nothing while they observed and recorded details of these men as they proceeded to die. Borders on what the Nazi's did during WWII. Both bizarre and sinister. 

    Yes, Cathy, it's true

    So right about the good, the bad and the ugly in a slice of Americana. Slice of humanity, in the sense of humankind.  Vast atrocities have to be revealed to the masses, as in the Nuremberg trials, before we even consider that certain ethics need be codified. But in a real sense, people's own hearts and cultures around them make the laws that truly govern. Besides the evident beauty, we're capable of so much evil.

    Appreciated molimoli's comments as well.

    Cathy, I don't know where you wrote it, but I might find and print your words of advice for another member of group that serve as insructions for relating to our medical care professionals. I wanted to CHEER when I read it!  Some of these things I've had to learn the hard way, as others in this "survivors network" have as well!!

    best,

    j

     

     

     

     

  • Abbycat2
    Abbycat2 Member Posts: 644
    molimoli said:

    Listen to what happened to me 5 days ago,  I had gone to see my regular family doctor to have a chat as she is worried sick about my indecisions re; chemo and the lack of any kind of  treatment,She thinks that one day soon I will get sudden and unbearable pain in my abdomen if the tumors are left to just grow, I also know this but won't spend today worrying about tomorrow, Life taught me how to compartmentalize things, She is a wonderful caring doctor ,she is the very best . I decided to be honest with her and told of my persuit of and determination to have  surgery  else where. and is waiting for reply.

    I could see the worry all over her face , she then made a deal with me , I will keep my appointment on the 17th with the new oncologist at the cancer centre as my old oncologist left the centre(I had intended not to) I agreed, but If I am not comfortable with oncologist suggestions then I will return to her on the 19th at which time she will have me work with her and   a palliative care physician and councellor.This physician will be assigned to me for all support ,mental and physical. my doctor will deal with the medical side,pain management etc.Her other request is that I discuss my illness with my daughters.Out of respect and love for this doctor and remembering that I had made this promise to my neurologist I agreed and meant to go ahead and tell my youngest first (she is 27 and just now finding herself again after her sister's death) I ache at the thought of telling my daughters at this time when I am reasonably well, but there are promises to be kept.

    My daughter called as usual to chit chat, Invited me to see a documentary about the life of Chris Farley (comedian whom we both enjoy) I said " that would be great darling ,and afterwards I have something to share with you"  she replied "ok mom, sounds like a plan ,guess what , You know how I've always wanted to live in New York and kept going seeking opportunities, well my dream has come true, an opportunity has come for me to go so I will be leaving on Oct.15th  I am working my last month in this country for a long while , so I will tell you all about it when I see you, mom I hope you renewed your passport by now , did you"  

    All of that was said in one breath,excited and bubbley with  no pauses, that's my daughter being my daughter. all her decisions are thought out and decisive.

    I can't tell ,won't tell , won't put that handcuff on my own child .A child who wants to live life to its fullest and has carefully laid her plans to do so,

    My other daughter is the family's CNN,  cannot keep a secret she will text her sister as I speak before I even finish my disclosure statement.I am her back-up plans,and she is a crier (spelling ?)

    No can do. Time not right, Their distress will cause me more distress than the reality of this cancer. Telling Anyone in My family is not an option  at this time. I am resolve to live and let live, so to speak.

    A long answer to your short question, lol.

     

     

    Between a rock and a hard place, moli

    I can't even begin to know what you are going through, but can tell you that my heart and prayers go out to you. Sadly, as much as you want to protect your daughters from knowledge of your cancer, there may come a day when that may not be possible. I know that you know that. I grieve for you as well. Your daughters are fortunate to have a special mother who loves them beyond measure. I suspect they already know that. 

    moli, do you live in Canada? Not sure why I might think that, but if you need a passport to go to N.Y. then you are not a US resident. I can see why a young woman would like to live in NY. I was born in New York City. It is quite a lively place!

    Hugs,

    Cathy

     

  • Abbycat2
    Abbycat2 Member Posts: 644
    DrienneB said:

    Yes, Cathy, it's true

    So right about the good, the bad and the ugly in a slice of Americana. Slice of humanity, in the sense of humankind.  Vast atrocities have to be revealed to the masses, as in the Nuremberg trials, before we even consider that certain ethics need be codified. But in a real sense, people's own hearts and cultures around them make the laws that truly govern. Besides the evident beauty, we're capable of so much evil.

    Appreciated molimoli's comments as well.

    Cathy, I don't know where you wrote it, but I might find and print your words of advice for another member of group that serve as insructions for relating to our medical care professionals. I wanted to CHEER when I read it!  Some of these things I've had to learn the hard way, as others in this "survivors network" have as well!!

    best,

    j

     

     

     

     

    Yes, Drienne, I also learned the hard way

    Looking back and knowing what I know now, I would've been better prepared. My uterine biopsy prior to surgery did not indicate that I had UPSC let alone a grade 3 Ca. Well, if I had known, I would've asked for a Ca 125 blood test and I would've asked the gyne oncologist if my omentum was on the removal list. As it turned out, I did not have a pre-surgery Ca 125 nor was my omentum removed.  

    I recognize, however, that my disease free survival will be what it will be regardless.

    Warm Wishes,

    Cathy

  • molimoli
    molimoli Member Posts: 514
    Abbycat2 said:

    Between a rock and a hard place, moli

    I can't even begin to know what you are going through, but can tell you that my heart and prayers go out to you. Sadly, as much as you want to protect your daughters from knowledge of your cancer, there may come a day when that may not be possible. I know that you know that. I grieve for you as well. Your daughters are fortunate to have a special mother who loves them beyond measure. I suspect they already know that. 

    moli, do you live in Canada? Not sure why I might think that, but if you need a passport to go to N.Y. then you are not a US resident. I can see why a young woman would like to live in NY. I was born in New York City. It is quite a lively place!

    Hugs,

    Cathy

     

    Not A happy place Cathy.

    Yes dear I am between a rock and a rock. One day I  must take a sledge hammer to it though, but will wait until she is settled in, hopefully not sooner  although I feel the day is fast approaching due to abdominal carrings-on that I am now experiencing. Weird sensation and an unusual awareness of my vagina's backyard ,it  is suddenly there, and of course not because of any of my actions.   

     I Can't wait for my appointments  on monday and Wed. Will be insisting on a scan,yes the dreaded scan, it comes with the program., necessary evil. I know when to bow.

    Yes Miss Columbus you've made a discovery, you are quite sharp. nuff said, lol

    She has been aching  to live there  since high school . We visited often in the past, before a different kind of life happened.

    A joke I must share: After all the unfortunate things happened in NewYork and other states I decided that I don't want to die at all (notice I said at all) so I won't go to America again,and that was that,  didn't renew my passport as that gives me an excuse not to be talked into going., This same daughter scoulded me about living my life fearing  she said "you could waste your time fearing America  and something that is not remotely related to a bomb  just up and kill you in this your perfect Canada (Canadian children ache for the big Apple)  out of the mouth of babes, here I am In my perfect Canada and upsc  left America and found me  with the intent to kill.Darn, just think of all the shopping I could have done.and all the beautiful (too much food on the plates) restaurants waiting to fatten me. Oops I snoozed ,   One day down this  road I will remind her and we will have a laugh a thunderous laugh.

     They know I love them ,After divorce they became my everything. Later I watched them conduct their lives exactly as I had hoped.

    Thank you Cathy.  A Blessed and wonderful weekend to all of you . Nuff nuff Love.

     

     

    .

     

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996
    The daughter in law and

    The daughter in law and granddaughter of this lady are speaking at Montana State Univerisity this evening.  The news need a very nice interview.