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Any of the cells of the first continuously cultured human carcinoma strain, originally obtained from cancerous cervical tissue and maintained for use in biomedical research.
A line of human epithelial cells that grows well in culture. It is an immortal cancer cell that has been maintained in continuous tissue cultures for decades from a patient with carcinoma of the cervix. It is named for the first two letters of the patient's first and last names, Henrietta Lacks. HeLa cells have been used in thousands of experiments on cell growth, differentiation, and cancer, and in virology, pharmacology, and other fields.
See also: cell