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July 6, 1984

Dr Alexis Carrel and Tissue Culture

Author Affiliations

University of Florida Center for Gerontological Studies Gainesville

JAMA. 1984;252(1):44-45. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350010024012

To the Editor.—  In his LANDMARK PERSPECTIVE entitled "Dr Alexis Carrel and Tissue Culture," Dr Hassan Najafi perpetuates the myth of Carrel's chick heart cell strain that allegedly "lived and multiplied for more than 34 years and retained original characteristics throughout the entire period of cultivation."The scientific method demands confirmation of experimental results before acceptance. Despite attempts made in many laboratories, no one has ever succeeded in serially propagating chick fibroblasts beyond one year.1 Perpetuation of the myth of Carrel's alleged immortal culture does a disservice to cell biologists and gerontologists who for 50 years have repeatedly failed to confirm Carrel's claim. Dr Najafi implies that this failure is due to the almost universal use of enzymes and chelating agents. The effect of these materials or any other chemical or mechanical influence on the finitude of normal cell proliferation was ruled out rigorously by us more than 20