Nature Reviews Cancer 2, 315-319 (April 2002) | doi:10.1038/nrc775

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

John R. Masters1  About the author


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?

Author affiliations

  1. John R. Masters is at the Institute of Urology, University College London, 67 Riding House Street, London W1W 7EY, UK.