Culturing HeLa cells

Scope of the method

The Method relates to
  • Human health
The Method is situated in
  • Basic Research
  • Translational - Applied Research
Type of method
  • In vitro - Ex vivo
This method makes use of
  • Human derived cells / tissues / organs
Specify the type of cells/tissues/organs
HeLa cells


Method keywords
  • Culturing
  • Transfection
  • cell culture
  • cells
  • cancer cell line
  • mammalian
Scientific area keywords
  • Cell culture
  • virus studies
  • cytotoxicity
  • transfection
Method description

HeLa cells are the first continuous cancer cell line and were isolated from the aggressive glandular cervical cancer of a 31-year old woman. It was the first aneuploid line derived from human tissue maintained in continuous cell culture. Knowledge of almost every process that occurs in human cells has been obtained using HeLa cells. The cells should be handeld under laboratory containment level 2 and are identified as a contaminant in many other cell lines. Culture medium: EMEM + glutamine + NEAA + FBS; 5% CO2; 37 °C Growth mode: adherent Split sub-confluent cultures (70 % - 80 %) 1:3 to 1:10, seeding at 1.3x10,000 cells/cm² using Trypsin.

Lab equipment
  • Biosafety cabinet;
  • Incubator;
  • Microscope;
  • T-flasks.
Method status
  • Still in development
  • History of use

Pros, cons & Future potential

  • Stable genome after years of cultivation;
  • Applying selection pressure is possible;
  • Grow rapidly given the right medium and space.
  • Can infect other cells;
  • Can grow aggressively;
  • Avoid cross-contamination;
  • Use of serum.

References, associated documents and other information

Contact person

Jessie Neuckermans


Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences
In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-Cosmetology