HeLa cells 50 years on: the good, the bad and the ugly

@article{Masters2002HeLaC5,
  title={HeLa cells 50 years on: the good, the bad and the ugly},
  author={J. Masters},
  journal={Nature Reviews Cancer},
  year={2002},
  volume={2},
  pages={315-319}
}
  • J. Masters
  • Published 2002
  • Medicine
  • Nature Reviews Cancer
HeLa cells — the first continuous cancer cell line — have been a mainstay of cancer research ever since their isolation from the aggressive glandular cervical cancer of a young woman more than 50 years ago. Knowledge of almost every process that occurs in human cells has been obtained using HeLa cells and the many other cell lines that have since been isolated. So why does fraud an ignorance surround the use of these and other human cancer cell lines? 
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The discovery of HeLa cell contamination of the human endometrial epithelial cell line HES isolated in the laboratory is reported and it is verified that WISH cells, isolated originally from human amnion epithelium, were also contaminated with HeLa cells. Expand
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TLDR
Examples of how and why cells have lived on long after the individual they came from has died are presented and questions such as, “Who owns the authors' biological samples once they leave their bodies?” and, ‘Is cell culture a form of immortality?’ will be discussed. Expand
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TLDR
How cross-contamination occurs, the use of false cell lines in leading biomedical journals is catalogued, and ways to resolve the problem are suggested. Expand
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TLDR
Overall, the results of this study indicate a lack of vigilance in cell acquisition and identity testing and some researchers are still using Hela contaminants without apparent awareness of their true identity. Expand
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TLDR
The advantages and disadvantages of the use of cell lines are discussed, the issues of instability and lack of differentiation are addressed, and every important, recurrent genetic and epigenetic change found in tumors has been identified in cell lines. Expand
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