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Discovery of the “HeLa Bomb” with Dr  Stanley Gartler

Discovery of the “HeLa Bomb” with Dr Stanley Gartler


[GENTLE CHIMING] PHIL MIXTER: Let me start
by saying the Common Reading Program began at WSU in 2007. And in this program, each year
a book is selected that students use in a wide variety– literally dozens– of
first-year classes. This spans a lot of
disciplines across our campus. This includes the
WSU Global Campus and programming that occurs
primarily in the residence halls on campus. This year’s book is The Immortal
Life of Henrietta Lacks. A large component of the Common
Reading Program is the weekly– or almost every week– guest expert lecture series. It offers freshmen and other
students of our community a chance to hear from the
expertise we have on campus, as well as bring in some
experts from outside our campus to talk about the book
and its related topics. We’re very honored to welcome
to WSU Dr. Stanley Gartler. Dr. Gartler is a professor
emeritus from the University of Washington. I understand, Dr. Gartler,
this isn’t your first visit to our university. You’ve been with your
friend, agronomy professor, [? Demark ?] [INAUDIBLE]. And you’ve managed to
put on some hiking boot miles in our wonderful
Palouse countryside earlier. So welcome back to
what I would normally call the dry side of the state. But today would not qualify
as a dry day, I guess. Dr. Gartler is a
molecular biologist and a human geneticist. He’s a professor emeritus from
the Department of Medicine and Genome Sciences at UW. He has worked there since 1957. Most days, he will walk his
dog and head to the laboratory. He enjoys working with
faculty and students there. Dr. Gartler accomplishes–
has accomplished many things. But one of the first things
that’s relevant to our topic today is he offered
conclusive evidence for the clonality
of human cancers in his work in the 1960s
with Walter Nelson-Rees. It ties him directly to
the Common Reading book. He identified that
HeLa cells had actually contaminated the many cell lines
that researchers were using throughout the country and had
previously thought were unique. So Dr. Gartler made a
presentation at a conference, informing the scientific
community of this result, that he had identified
genetic markers that distinguished HeLa cells. And at that time that sort
of work with genetic markers was virtually nonexistent. So, as he says, the
idea that lab errors had created contamination were
clearly unaccepted at the time and proven by Dr. Gartler. When Rebecca Skloot was
working on this book, she consulted with Dr.
Gartler, sent him a draft, and asked that he
review the published work for scientific merit. So please join me in
welcoming Dr. Stanley Gartler, and if you would, share a
good cougar welcome with him. STANLEY GARTLER:
Well, thank you very much for the kind introduction
and the cougar welcome. And I’m very happy to
be here and to talk about this book, which I
think is one of the more interesting books and brings up
a lot of interesting questions that we can discuss. You’ll find that I don’t agree
with everything that’s written, or for the tone of it,
but it does bring up important questions. Now the– from the title
of the book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, it
essentially is, for the title, it’s the story of a
cell culture which was derived from this
woman in the early 1950s and turned out to be the
first human permanent cell line ever derived. And as I’ll indicate, there was
a tremendous amount of interest in obtaining such a cell line. And because of that, it
became extremely widely used. Now, some of you–
maybe most of you– don’t even know what a cell
line is, or a cell culture is. And I’ll just take a
second to talk about, since that’s essentially
what the book is about at the beginning. And that is if you
take a piece of tissue from your arm, just a teeny
bit of tissue in your arm, piece of skin, you put it
into a flask that’s sterile and has just a
mixture of nutrients. In a short time, that
piece of tissue will attach and cells will grow out. And for quite a period of time,
cells will continue to grow out and to divide and multiply. And this is a
normal cell culture. And– but with time,
that piece of tissue, and the cells that come out
from it, will stop dividing. And that’s invariably
what happens with a normal piece of
culture tissue today, if you don’t do anything
special with it, and that was always the pattern
that happened in the days when the HeLa cell
line was derived. And so for a long time people
could produce cell cultures, but they would die out. But they always– and especially
a man named George Gey, who developed the
HeLa cell line– he wanted to be able to
get a permanent cell line and isolate it directly from the
tumor, because he had in mind that with such a cell
line isolated directly from the tumor, he might
be able to find out causes of what leads this
tumor and maybe even arrive at such therapy. So at any rate,
what this is about, The Immortal Life
of Henrietta Lacks is a cell line
that was taken well it was part of the biopsy that
was taken from her when she was in the hospital in 1950. And George Gey put it in
culture and a cell line arose, the first permanent,
human permanent cell line. And it was quite in
demand, and that’s led to a great
deal of the story. Now the major
emphasis in this book, for those of you who have
read it, is about the fact that this cell line is
immortal, or it’s permanent, as some people would call it. And what they’re
concerned about, really, or thinking about,
is what sort of uses has this cell line been put to? Did Henrietta Lacks,
the origin person, originated this cell line, or
she given complete counseling and did she give informed
consent for taking it? And so the major
emphasis of the book is on what I call the
bioethics of the cell line. It– were all things
carried out properly? And then the other major
reason is since the HeLa cell line became so popular and
important, and used so widely, was there a significant
amount of money that was made to companies or
to individuals to the cell line, and should the family have
received some income from this? So those are her
major interests. And I just want to
call your attention to an earlier book on
the cell line written by an author named Michael Gold
called The Conspiracy of Cells. It was written in 1986, and
again about the HeLa cell line. And the major aim, interest
of the author at that time was the fact that the HeLa
cell had tended to contaminate a great many other cells. So you had a horrible
problem of contamination, which, by the way, is
still going on in this day. And the book focuses on the
career of one young scientist who decided to devote his
entire life to cleaning up the question of contamination. And it’s very well
done, very interesting, and it brings in a lot of
interesting psychology. Just as a quick
sideline, this man was very– was not very
gentle in his remarks. When he found somebody out
had a contaminated cell line, he told them very, very frankly,
also published it if he could. And so in a short time he
wasn’t very well-liked. But what he was trying to
do was a very important job of trying to control the
question of cell contamination. So what I’m going to do
then, in the time here, is talk about two aspects
of the HeLa cell line and The Immortal Life
of Henrietta Lacks is talk about the bio
ethical aspects, which I think is a major interest of
Rebecca Skloot in this book. But then I’m going to
talk again, at the end, about the question of
cross-cell contamination and what it means at
the scientific level. So this is what I
just pointed out that the two main issues
are, the bioethics of tissues removed at surgery, given in
this specific form, and then the question of cross-culture
contamination, where we go on. So since 1981, there has been
at every kind of institution, whether it’s a medical
school or what have you, or any kind of investigative
research is done, there is what’s called an IRB,
institutional review board. And what– the main function
of these boards are twofold. One is to make sure that
somebody who is taking part in some kind of a
study or an experiment is doing something that’s
safe, nothing is dangerous, and that their mental
health is protected also. That’s important. And that has been– I’d say most people
would agree– that these aims are
achieved quite well by institutional review
boards all over the country. And as I said, they were
established formally in 1981. But even before 1981, and at
the time when the HeLa cell was established, that
was the practice at universities and
medical schools, that the subject was protected
physically, mentally. And probably the major
thing was that the privacy, or the anonymity, of the
subject was protected as well. That was a very
important feature. And so one of the
main things, then, in protecting privacy is that
the name of the individual who was taking part in the
project, or let’s say, of who was self-culture
was started from, or any other sort of thing– so the main thing is to
protect that person’s privacy. Now, it turned out that when
George Gey, the originator of the HeLa cell– when he realized he had found
the first permanent human cell line and he knew
that Henrietta Lacks, the donor of the cell line, was
dying of this adenocarcinoma of the cervix– a very serious and
fatal type of a tumor– he realized quite
ahead that this was going to be an
important finding, this first permanent
human cell line. And so he wanted to
name the culture, actually, Henrietta Lacks. Which, even though there
were no institutional review boards at that
time, it was already realized that you would
want to keep something like this private. You would not want
to reveal the name. And so he had a number
of conversations with colleagues about
this, and they all cautioned against doing this,
naming it Henrietta Lacks. And they felt they should
give it just an anonymous type of a name. But he wouldn’t
listen completely, and so he ended up
calling it HeLa, which are the initials of
the first and second name. So that in itself,
today, probably if you had a culture like that
and were going to name it, and you had to go through the
institutional review board, that would not be
approved today. Now, George Gey died in 1970,
as you can see from here, and an obituary was
written about him in Obstetrics and Gynecology
by close friends of his. And in his obituary, where
they talk about him, then without any– giving
any good reason, they actually reveal the name of
the donor of the HeLa cell line as Henrietta Lacks. And that again– there again was
no formal institutional review board, but that would
not have been listed. So in 1971, when his obituary
was published, we then real– people realized who HeLa came
from, what her full name was. And, as I said, it was
going– would be completely against custom today. And I think– as far
as I know, no one– I shouldn’t say no
one knows– but I don’t know if anyone really
knows why that information was revealed in this paper. But my own suspicion
is that it was probably Gey’s last wishes, that he
felt so strongly that the– Henrietta Lacks should get
credit for this culture that he asked them to do. But I don’t really know. As a result of this obituary,
the name was released. So that was the first time that
the name had been released, of the donor of the HeLa cell. And that was– and it
was only with that name that Rebecca Skloot
could carry out– could write this book she
did, track down family, and do this amazing job of going
into this family background and interviewing these people. So without this
obituary, I guess she couldn’t have
written her book. And I wouldn’t be here
talking to you, either, which may be something
you might think about one way or the other. And so– so then soon after
this paper was published, there was an interest, then,
in trying to find out something more about the family. And one of the most interesting
things they want to find out is what was her genotype
for a particular gene? And this was for the G6PD
gene, glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase. It’s just one of the many
millions of genes you have. And it had already been shown– I showed this some years ago– that the HeLa cell came from an
individual who had the genotype of G6PD-A. So this
would be [INAUDIBLE] X. And that was determined
just simply from her– from looking at that
the HeLa cell culture. And so some– a group of people
wanted to know whether she was AA at both– you know, or I should
remind you, of course, that this gene is
on the X chromosome. Females have two X chromosomes. Males have one X. So all we
knew from the original study that I did a long time ago
was that she had the G6PD-A gene on one X chromosome. She could be– have both A’s,
on each– one A on each X, or an A on one X and
a B on the other. That is B, a heterozygote. And the question this group
was particularly interested in was, if she was a heterozygote,
G6PD-AB, and her tumor, we knew, was just
A, then that would be compatible with the
idea of the tumor arising from a single cell, which was an
interesting and important idea at that time. And so they wanted to– in order to find this out, was
she a heterozygote or was she– just have the AA– they had to then
look at the family. So this was the first
time that the family could be located
because the name was revealed in that paper. And in that case, the
family was looked at. And you can see that her
husband was B and the two sons, who just have a single X,
one was A and one was B. So that meant, then, that
she was AB, or heterozygous, had an A allele on
one X chromosome, a B allele on the other, and
therefore she was heterozygous. And that, then, was
compatible with the fact that, since the tumor is only
A, that it may have started from the single cell. And there’s one more thing. So one other thing
you have to know is that, in the female
who has two X chromosomes, only one of these
X chromosomes is expressed in each female cell. It’s something called X
chromosome inactivation. And each cell and
its descendants express the same X. So
if a tumor originated from a single
cell, and it had it had two X’s, but in that
cell only the XA was active, then all the cells that
grew out from that tumor would still be A. And
then– so if a cell has two different X-linked traits
for a gene, G6PD-A on one X, G6PD-B on the other X. A tumor originating
from a single cell would be either A or B,
whereas the tumor only– the tumor only
expresses both A and B if it begins from
more than one cell. So that if the individuals
a heterozygote, the tumor has both
A and B cells in it and it starts from
multiple cells. OK, that’s just to show
you one important point. And this work was done
by this group of people. Cusick is a famous
professor at Johns Hopkins, and they were the ones
that were– so that this was the first major paper after
the obituary, where the family was contacted and mentioned. Well, let me mention a couple
other things at this time. So the– so when Henrietta
Lacks was in the hospital, and she was examined
and they realized there was some kind of
a tumor in her cervix, then a tissue sample was
excised for pathology. And, as was the practice in
those days at Johns Hopkins, that every time a
tissue was taken at surgery, that a piece
was sent to George Gey so that he could try and
grow it in cell culture. And he was particularly
interested in tumors. So the tumor went to him. Now, a question that
Henrietta– or, Rebecca Skloot– has raised in this book is,
was that Henrietta Lacks properly informed about the
taking of the tissue and the giving it, giving a
piece to George Gey so he could form a cell culture. Well, the practice–
now at that day there was no institutional
review board. Today there are. But today, I think the practice
will be exactly the same. Once a person goes
into the hospital and is having surgery, which
he or she has agreed to, then that means that
the material that’s removed at surgery
no longer belongs to the patient in any way. It then is the property of the
hospital for the pathologist and whoever else may be involved
to carry out studies on those– on that piece of tissue. And probably without
any exception, most if not all of
the studies will have to do with the
diagnosis of the patient and with some possible
treatment that may be involved. So I think, in terms
of Henrietta Lacks being informed about the
taking of the tissue, I think that that
is something that would be done
today, just as well, and it was the
practice in those days. Now, as far as the
cell culture goes, George Gey had– his major
aim was to try and understand how tumors came to be. The basic idea at that
time was that viruses cause lots of tumors. And he thought if he could put
a tumor directly in culture, he might be able to get some
handle on how to deal with or treat it in some way. So I think our question that
the [AUDIO OUT] even anybody is illegal. So that’s something
where I disagree with Ms. Skloot on this point. Now one of the– a point that I
think important also is something about the
HeLa cell and whether– and its abnormality. It’s not really a normal cell. And you might even
expect or anticipate that since it’s a tumor,
it’s not going to be normal. And there’s one thing that
I would criticize Skloot for is that she doesn’t really
emphasize the abnormal aspects of the HeLa cell. And here– just got to
show you first– is looking at chromosomes of cells. And here we have just the normal
chromosomes, or chromosomes of a normal male and female. And these are called,
are karyotypes. So here we have
karyotypes of normal male, and here’s a normal female. And so these are the
autosomes and there’s the sex chromosomes of
the male, X and the Y, and two of every kind. And here is the
[INAUDIBLE] [? for a ?].. So this is the
normal one up here. And here’s– and so
the difference, then, between the male and the female,
there would be two Xs and no Y. Otherwise everything else
will be the same chromosome. And here’s the karyotype
of a HeLa cell. And by the way, if you
look at 100 HeLa cells, it would probably be very
difficult to get them all to be exactly the same
and match like this, because there’s
so much variation going on in the formation
of the HeLa chromosome. But anyway, if you
would count these, you would see get close to 70. Here the correct number of
[INAUDIBLE] is 46, 23 pair. Now some of them you can arrange
in pairs, but many of them, you can’t arrange at all. So at the karyotypic
level, in terms of the number of chromosomes,
the cell is quite abnormal. And one might argue,
well, the HeLa cell has been in culture
for years and years, ever since the 1950s. And so is it possible
that some or even maybe all of these chromosomal
abnormalities occurred in culture? Well, that’s a possibility. But then we don’t have any
way of knowing now, of course. But I should point
out that at the time that Henrietta Lacks died, her
tumor had already metastasized. It had spread to a lot of
different parts of the body. And so from what we
know at that stage, there probably were lots of
chromosomal abnormalities that have already occurred. So I would say that
it’s very likely that most of these
chromosomal abnormalities, the deviation from normal, were
already there in the tumor. Oh, the– one point I
should make with respect to the question of
whether abnormalities can occur in culture. They can, of course. But if you take the– when
I started off early on, told you about starting a cell
culture from a small piece of normal tissue, you
can put that in culture, and after a short while you
can harvest cells and actually look at chromosomes. And if it’s from a normal
individual, normal piece of tissue, that culture– karyotypically, in
terms of chromosomes– will remain normal throughout
the life of the culture. So for many cell divisions, not
nearly as many as the HeLa’s gone through. Culture doesn’t necessarily lead
to chromosomal abnormalities. One of the things which
goes back a little bit is really the– is the question of– goes back
to George Gey and the question of naming cell cultures. It shows here the HeLa cell. And this was the status of
chromosomes back in 1966. And you’ll see lots of names of
different cell lines, Detroit Six, Minnesota E,
Embryonic Lung. The great majority of them
are sort of anonymous names. They purposely put
that way in order so that somebody working
with it would not be able, with any ease, to trace
it back to the origin of it. Now there’s, like one here,
there are some names here, but it turns out they
aren’t really related to any personal name. There’s one famous
one here called– Chang liver is not
related to an individual’s name. But that was the standard,
and the only real difference, as I mentioned
earlier, was HeLa, and that was due to the fact
that George Gey wanted to give some credit to Henrietta Lacks. And I think they did,
finally, in his obituary. So I want to take you
back now to– well, let me bring up one
more point before I go into a discussion
of contamination, which is a question I am
particularly interested in. But the– one of the main
questions that should be discussed with respect to the– one of the main
interests of the book is when the family was
revealed, when we know the name, we know everyone, a
question comes up now, which really is a general
question about keeping privacy. Was this good or
bad or indifferent for the people in the
family, or for anyone else? And of course, we’ll never
know what Henrietta Lacks would have wanted, whether she would
have wanted to be revealed or not. I personally would not like
to be remembered for a cancer cell, but who knows? On the other hand,
the question then of whether there was a large
amount of money or funds made, that’s a very difficult
one to go over completely. I can just say that in terms
of the many, many thousands, probably 100,000s of HeLa
cultures that were sent to people, maybe even sold, that
the great majority were sent free. George Gey sent them out always
without even charging postage, I think. The American Type
Culture Collection is sort of a
semi-governmental agency, was set up to distribute
important cell lines, and they were a
nonprofit institution. So in terms of the
selling of the– maybe millions of cell
lines that were sent out, I doubt if much money
was made that way. Now, in terms of things
like, for example, the question of polio. In the book there
is mention made that the cell line
was very important in the years of polio. Well, if it was really
critical to it, then probably there was a fair
amount of money made somewhere, because there were huge
numbers of dosages given. But the question of whether it
was really critical to polio is questionable, because the
original work on the polio virus was done by a man named
John Enders and his colleagues. He did the work before
HeLa cells were available, so he learned how to grow
them in different ways. The Salk vaccine was
produced in monkey cells. So the HeLa had some role in it. Whether it was a really
critical role, I don’t know. So anyway, determining whether
there really is a lot of money made from something
is very difficult. I personally would
feel that a family is justified in
getting some funds from a– biomedical
research that lead to large amounts of money. Now, not everyone is, but
I think that’s justified. Fine But in this case I think
it’d be very, very, very difficult to find– to determine that. Let me go– let me switch now,
for the last 10, 15 minutes, to the question of
cell contamination. Now, I got into the story
a number of years ago. I was– this was in the 1960s– I was interested in trying to
set up a genetics of human cell cultures. And any time you want to
do anything in genetics, you need markers. You need hereditary differences
between individuals, AB, all blood groups, the
[? MN ?] blood groups, any number of things. And it turns out,
unfortunately, that many of the hereditary markers
that we knew of at that time were not expressed in
human cell cultures. So they weren’t of
any value to use. And so I finally
picked up a couple that I knew I could detect
in human cell culture. One was the G6PD marker that I
talked about earlier, an enzyme that is present
in all our tissues and which we know there’s a
lot of hereditary variation. And this is– just this is
G6PD-B, a slow-moving band. This is a heterozygote,
which has two bands, and this is G6PD-A. So
it’s very easy to mark. And I think the– this, in fact, is a marker
for phosphoglucomutase, which is another
hereditary variant you can tell in cell culture. So anyway– so I had
these two markers to begin my studies
with, of looking for useful hereditary
variance in cell culture. And so I collected the
avail– this was 1965– I collected the available
cultures that were at the time. HeLa was one of them. And the list I just
showed you before, [? Aradi ?] and [? Ristar ?] and
Wish, they were also available. When I collected them, there
were some 20 cell lines, all including HeLa,
and it turned out that they all had exactly the
same genotypes with respect to G6PD and PGM. And that wouldn’t have
been so terribly unusual, except that I knew they all
had G6PD, G6PD-A. This is– so they all had– they were all the same in both
the PGM and the G6PD type. But they all had G6PD-A.
Every one of them had A. And I knew that G6PD-A was
found only in individuals of African descent. And George Gey had told
me that Henrietta Lacks was of African descent. And that was the first cell
line, permanent cell line, established. And these were all
permanent cell lines. So it was clear then, to me at
least, that what had happened was that George Gey had sent the
HeLa cell line out to anybody who wanted it. And people had it, were
growing in their labs. And then there was
an interesting thing happened, that
although no one had been able to get an
established human cell line growing until George Gey had
done it in the early 1950s, suddenly within a
few years, there were a lot of different
established human cell lines growing. And these were the
ones I analyzed. So it’s clear to me that
what had happened was there had been a contamination. People had let the HeLa
cells, by sloppy techniques, grow into another thing,
which, they thought they were starting
a new cell line and it turned out to be HeLa. And since at that time, the
people doing cell culture didn’t really have much feeling
for the field of genetics, they didn’t think of
using markers such as this to check whether their cell
lines were true or not. And so they missed this. And I wanted to tell
you a little story to indicate how
different scientists were at that time about such things. I had been invited to
this tissue culture meeting in which I was
going to present this data. And I happened to be
chatting with the chairman of our department,
Herschel Roman, who was a father of yeast genetics,
a very experienced man in microbial genetics. And he knew I was
going to a meeting. And he asked me what I
was going to talk about. And so I told him I had found
that these cell lines were contaminated with the HeLa
using G6PD-A to detect it and that’s what I was
going to talk about. And he looked at me as though
I was some sort of idiot. He said, “You’re going to
talk about cell contamination at a scientific meeting?” He was just completely
flabbergasted. And that was the
difference in concept. I was a little
surprised and worried. But when I got there, I realized
that the people were not quite aware of this. And what it represented was
a totally different attitude of how you look
at your material. Somebody in genetics
microbial genetics, like Herschel Roman or
anybody working in genetics, first thing you
have are hereditary markers to characterize
your material. And so if a
contamination occurs– which, it can always occur in
it doing bacterial genetics or microbial genetics– you
can pick it up right away. But the concept of the
cell cultures of the day was that they just were working
with something so simple that you had to have all
sorts of other markers to detect it or characterize it. It seemed to be that when they
looked at it under the scope, even though to me it
was a simple cell, they really could
tell the difference between that cell and an amnion
and this one and the other. So it was a totally
different thing. So when I presented
this data, that there was not complete acceptance
of it by the people. But essentially,
it– what went on. And I think what it
represents, in a way, is a difference in how you
look at what you’re working on. And I think the
major criteria that I think a lesson can
come out of this is that you have to be very
skeptical of whatever you’re working on. Cell culture is a minor field,
really, in the whole field of science, a very minor field. But no matter whether it’s
physics or cell culture, what have you, you tend to
be– which is natural– be overall optimistic,
overly optimistic with what you’re
working on, and not question is this right or wrong? Now, surprisingly, we now
come a long time since 1966. And technology is
really advancing, if we can sequence the whole genome. So detecting, really detecting
a particular biological organism is not very difficult,
exactly, so. And yet, to this
day, there are still large numbers of contaminations
that are going on. Let me see if I can
get this next one up. Yeah. Just this year,
this is the article in April of this year in
the Wall Street Journal, of all places. They had a major article on
cell culture contamination. And of course, the main
reason they would have it in the Wall Street Journal
is they could point out that lots of government
funds were being wasted here. But it’s amazing how
many mistakes were still being made when the
number of markers are thousands and thousands. There’s no way picking it
up– no way missing it. If you really wanted
to take your culture and make sure that you knew
what you were working with, it’s a small fraction
of your budget to have it tested
by several places that test cultures
to see what they are. But they aren’t being done here. And this is interesting. You know, like for example the– in this case, they’ll
point out well, if your work is looking
at something that’s so-called basic
biology, then maybe it doesn’t make any
difference whether you’re working with a HeLa cell or
with a cell from someone’s liver or with a cell from
the white cell. It’s basic biology. But of course if you’re– think you’re working with
breast cancer cell lines and you’re working with a
cancer of a cervix, that is– it must be horrible. And it is horrible. But I didn’t come to think that
the basic idea, which I shared at one time, that if you’re
dealing with basic biology doesn’t matter whether it’s
a HeLa cell or a white cell or another cell. But I think that’s not true. Most of our cells in the body
are different in many ways. Their DNA is the same, but
what’s being expressed, quite different. And so you if you’re
looking at basic biology, I think you have to know
what cell you’re looking at. A very important feature. So I think want to save a
few minutes for questions and stuff. I think to close, again, now
with the main point I get out of the scientific
implications of this work, and that is, you want to remain
skeptical of what you’re doing. You’ve got to ask
questions about it. And we always get
overconfident, I think, and I’ve done it all the time. Everyone has done it. But in the case of something,
a rather minor field, it’s just a huge amount
of mistakes going on. We now have– at
the time of HeLa there was a small
number of cell cultures. Now there are thousands
of cell cultures. Anybody can start
one and anybody can make them permanent. At one time HeLa was
fantastic because it was the first permanent cell line. Now we have
techniques– any cell line can be made permanent. So there’s probably going to
be a lot more cell culture contaminations occurring,
unless a major effort is made to controlling that. And I’ll just close with
a little quote, which I will read from Francis
Bacon of the 16th century, who probably was one of the earliest
to talk about skepticism. And– that’s great, well,
didn’t last very long. Just up– there we go, OK. So this is, in a way, talking
about skepticism, I think. If you begin with
certainties, you’re going to end up in doubt. And you begin with doubt,
you’re a little better off. Thank you very much.

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