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How can you expand cells if you have one dish of them? - (Feb/16/2011 )

Someone might be giving me a dish of HeLa cells. I will likely need multiple dishes. Is there a way to expand these cells and generate make new dishes? Will I have to buy the same medium as in the original dish? How do I transfer them? I have no idea what I'm doing so any help would be appreciated.


Hey Ksu, you should really be shown by your supervisor this sort of thing. Where are you studying? I would have been furious if I was just handed HeLa cells with no training on what to do next! I'm not sure what the requirements for HeLa cells is, and whether there might be some variation between institutes. Please speak to your supervisor - don't try to wing it!

According to the ATCC, there are several types of HeLa cells - you might want to confirm which type you have. Here's the page for plain ole HeLa cells: - read the subculturing section.

Basically, it says you aspirate and discard the medium, use trypsin (and enzyme which cleaves the proteins holding the cells to the culture plate) to disassociate the cells from the dish. Then you suspend them in medium which deactivates the trypsin. Then you can split the culture between two to six plates, wait for them to expand and so on.

Please get the training you deserve!