HeLa Cells: A New Chapter in An Enduring StoryPosted on August 7th, 2013 by Dr. Francis CollinsOne of the first things a biomedical researcher learns is that it’s very hard to grow most human cells in the lab for an extended period. These “HeLa” cells had an amazing property not seen before: they could be grown continuously in laboratory conditions. That’s right, the HeLa cell lines were perpetual, everlasting, death-defying, or whatever other word you want to use to describe immortal. HeLa cells have been used to explore the complex processes involved in the growth, differentiation, and death of cells—processes that underlie a vast array of human diseases. Their generosity extends to the millions of people who have benefited, or will benefit in the future, from research using HeLa cells.