Definition of HeLa cells in US English:

HeLa cells

plural noun

  • Human epithelial cells of a strain maintained in tissue culture since 1951 and used in research, especially in virology.

    • ‘Figure 3 shows typical staining patterns for uninfected and infected HeLa cells, which were used as controls.’
    • ‘Moving to us, there are standard cell lines from human kidney or liver, and then there are the famous HeLa cells, one of many from human tumor sources.’
    • ‘Fig.7 shows that cell proliferation is further restricted to the colony border in HeLa cells grown over a longer period.’
    • ‘A limited amount of producer cells was overlaid with an excess of indicator HeLa cells, characterized by uncolored nuclei.’


1950s: from the name of He nrietta La cks, whose cervical carcinoma provided the original cells.


HeLa cells

/ˈhelə ˌselz/