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Cell immortalization


Why powdered medium couldn't be patented
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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This couldn't be patented, because there is... the media components had already been described in literature by Harry Eagle. The method of ball-milling was already well known, going back probably a century or more, so that there was nothing essentially unique about this other than putting together processes and chemicals already known to the public, although I have to say that I never seriously thought about patenting this. It never really occurred to me, although we did publish this in Nature magazine. I published it along with Frank, as what we thought was an interesting contribution to the field. And to this day, ball-milled media, powdered media is a major industry and a major component of the biotechnology industry.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Frank Perkins, Harry Eagle

Duration: 58 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012