Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells
Did you know there is one women whose cells have been multiplied in laboratories across the world? If we weighed all the cells that have come from this one women they would weigh as much as 100 Empire State Buildings. This women's name is Henrietta Lacks and her cells called "HeLa" have been used in many of the greatest scientific discoveries or our time. Her cells have been used to study gene mapping, curing polio, developing cancer drugs, studying AIDS, lukemia and the list can go on. Her cells were even send up to space in a satellite to help us determine if human tissue could survive there.
Henrietta Locks was a poor black women who died of cancer in 1951 when she was just 31 years old. During her treatment, and without her knowledge, a sample of her tumor was send to a doctor at John Hopkins. This doctor had been trying to grow human tissue. They discovered that Henrietta's cells, unlike other human cells, could live and replicate outside the body. If you give her cells nutrients they will live and survive and replicate for what scientists believe is forever. Even if they are frozen and then thawed they will continue to replicate.
Henrietta never knew that her cells would become one of the most important tools in modern medicine. She died in poverty and her husband and children didn't know till many years later that her cells would be one of the most important tools in modern medicine.