What does HeLa stands for?

Ian A. York iayork at panix.com
Fri Jan 21 15:16:04 EST 2000

In article <I%2i4.1717$PG6.20953 at news2-hme0>, Teck <teck.teh at cwcom.net> wrote:
>Can anyone tell me what does HeLa stands for?
>I know H or human and e for epithelial, then what do L and a stand for?

The name of the woman the cells were derived from; Helen Lacks, Henrietta
Lane, or various variations on those names.  

As I've heard the story, the confusion over the patient's name is
deliberate.  Since the details of the woman's cancer and history are known
(her age, the fact that she was a black woman and died of cervical
carcinoma), there are obvious  problems with patient confidentiality if
her name is also known.  The story I heard is that the original
researchers, realizing that her name was becoming known, deliberately
published the wrong name to muddy the waters.

Whether it's true or not, I don't know; what the patient's real name was,
I don't know; and I don't really want to know.  She's earned her rest and
her privacy.

    Ian York   (iayork at panix.com)  <http://www.panix.com/~iayork/>
    "-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
     very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England

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