Henrietta Lacks, the woman who after follows immortal 60 years its death.

Henrietta Lacks was called, but for the scientists it was become simply into HeLa. Our protagonist was an agricultural diligent poor person of the tobacco farmings of the south of the United States, that worked hard in same lands where its ancestor cultivated the plantation using fetters. He died in 1951 because of a col cancer, and exactly thus he reached immortality.

Its family not wise person until then, but when Henrietta fought against the tumor that it would arrebataria the life, the doctors had practised a biopsia to extract part of its tumorais cells. The doctors had decided to conserve them without informing to nobody, habitual custom at that time. Those cells had finished for becoming themselves into one of the tools most important on which the medicine counts because of an incredible characteristic: they are remained alive and they grow vigorously. Immortal” human being is about the first cellular line “that the great scale can be cultivated.

She results ironic that she has left of its uterus follows living creature, each time with bigger volume, although that in October of this year she will make 60 years of the death of its giver. To finish with the HeLa cells she has that to submit them it the radiation, to deprive them of nutrients or water, or to place them in contact with other cells that fagocitem them. But if the conditions are remained steady, the tumorais cells, in contrast of sãs, simply do not age. If we could pile up in a scale all the cultivated HeLa cells until the date, its weight would surpass the 50 tons.

Thanks to them, it was possible to develop the vaccine against the pólio, to discover certain secrets of the cancer and some viruses and also to evaluate the effect of the atomic bomb. Also in served to conquer important advances in fertilização vitro, clonagem and genetic sequenciamento.

In a classic example of the total lack of ethics, the family of Henrietta did not inquire itself about “immortality” up to the 20 years after that biopsia, when the scientists had entered in contact with its husband and son to continue the research. Henrietta died poor, but thousands of millions of its tumorais cells had been vendidas the laboratories of everybody, generating a multimillionaire business of which its family never saw a cent.

In fact, one of the children of Henrietta, Deborah call, is asked with frequency if they did not clonaram its mother and it does not obtain to understand and to accept because its another sister, Elsie, died in an institution for deficient mental with 15 years without counting on no plan of medical assistance. All one contrassenso leading in account that Henrietta Lacks can have been the woman most important in all the history of the medicine.

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