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.


How to isolate your own cells


Can cells live forever?
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

At the turn of the century, when cell culture began, it was thought over a period of several decades that when cells are put in culture, they have the innate property of immortality, just like bacteria. If you put a bacteria in culture, you can carry it, that is you can transfer it from test tube to test tube, or culture to culture, for ever, essentially forever. And that philosophy was carried over to the field of cell culture and I was exposed to that philosophy and accepted it, like everyone else did. However, most of the cultures that were set during this 60-year period that is prior to my work... the cells that were cultured failed to grow, or to replicate beyond several passages, that is removal of the cells from one culture vessel to another when they fill the floor of the first culture vessel.

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: cell culture, immortality, bacteria, culture vessel

Duration: 1 minute, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012