Thursday, August 8, 2013

"HeLa" cell line: researchers adopt rules for historic cancer cells - Spiegel Online

is considered a heroine of medicine: The cell lines died of uterine cancer in 1951, Henrietta Lacks, history of science was already written. After a long dispute with their offspring, the U.S. Department of Health announced (NIH) announced an agreement now. Deciphering the genetic researchers should continue to be available -. Conditions under

NIH chief Francis Collins said about the African-American Lacks, she had “the science of medicine and priceless services” proved. In fact, paint involuntarily to a heroine of the History of Medicine: The mother of five, died in 1951 with only 31 years on the effects of a particularly aggressive uterine cancer in the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (U.S. state of Maryland). Previously, doctors had removed her cancer cells without their knowledge, consent of the patient was not then required by U.S. law.

The cells were of enormous value to researchers because it first became possible to breed from them always new cell lines. Other cell samples were always died after a certain time. Over the years, from the first letters of Henrietta Lacks named first and last name, HeLa cells were used for research on the treatment of herpes, leukemia, influenza and Parkinson’s disease and the development of vaccines against a particular type of uterine cancer. Tens of thousands of scientific publications based on HeLa cells.

“Large medical miracle”

HeLa cells were “one of the greatest medical miracles of the last century,” said the University of Washington in Seattle, which reported in “Nature” for a complete decoding of the genome of the cells – and the genome data according to the rules for available provided that were specified in the agreement between paint descendants and the NIH.

varnish identity was revealed only in 1971. Fate was a TV documentary from 1997, and by the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by 2010 known to a wider audience.

early as last March, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, had published the complete genome of the cell line. Since this also conclusions on possible genetic strains of paint descendants – about an increased risk of alcohol dependence or Alzheimer’s – would be possible protested the family. The record was subsequently withdrawn, and now the researchers published their findings in accordance with the regulations adopted again.

family then decides to

release in March led to discussions between the family and paint the NIH, which culminated in an agreement now. Thus, researchers need to turn to the NIH if they want to work with the deciphered genome of the cell. On a committee to advise on such applications, and two members of the Lacks family are sitting. The research results have to be delivered to a scientific database.

However, this agreement only relates

funded by NIH research – laboratories could still request without decrypting the NIH itself the genetic material of widespread cell line or already put together well-known sections of the genome. “Something like this but would not be right, and a lack of respect for the family and paint,” said NIH Deputy Director Kathy Hudson.


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