a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Can cells live forever?


The immortality of cancer cells
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Before I go beyond this point, there are two other things that I need to mention in context of the time relationships and I'll return to this experiment that I just described in a moment. The first important point is that by this time, my third child, daughter, Susan Hayflick, was born and when I went... I had arranged with the obstetrician to obtain the placenta at the birth of this daughter for the purpose of culturing the amniotic amnion tissue, which by this time was known to grow fairly well in cell culture and had also been known to sometimes undergo a very important phenomenon called 'transformation'. By that it is meant, at least at that time it was meant – today the term has become corrupted to a point where you don't know what it means unless you query the user of the world – at that time it meant the acquisition by a cultured cell thought to be normal of cancer cell properties, including the key property of immortality, namely the ability to see the cell capable of cultivation continuously.

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: Susan Hayflick

Duration: 1 minute, 55 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012