From: Benjamin G Owens <bowens**At_Symbol_Here**UNR.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Working safely with cancer cells
Date: Tue, 17 May 2016 20:34:56 +0000
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 852F486739ECB34484E384E1D009D97DC7310BEE**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <579eda819f1a4a66a4795073ca4d0268**At_Symbol_Here**MBOX-01.FLAS.CSI.CUNY.EDU>



All human primary and cultured cells should be handled using BSL-2 practices and procedures.  If human cancer cells are transferred to another human the host immune system will normally see the cancer cells as foreign and destroy them.  I have read of one case where a laboratory worker was accidently inoculated with human colonic adenocarcinoma cells, which produced a local tumor nodule (Gugel, EA and Sanders, ME, Needle-stick transmission of human colonic adenocarcinoma, NEJM 1986; 315:1487). 


Ben Owens



Ben Owens

Assistant Director, Laboratory Safety

Environmental Health and Safety Dept., MS 328

University of Nevada, Reno 89557

Office Phone: 775-327-5196

Cell Phone: 775-843-2113

Fax: 775-784-4553




From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of James Saccardo
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 12:41 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Working safely with cancer cells


Good Afternoon, Here is a question for the list serve –

More and more laboratories are using cancer cells. The body of evidence states that you can not get cancer from touching or even eating a HeLa cell or some other cancerous cell from another species, but I am not sure that I can just swallow that without any reasoning. Anyone have an opinion or reasoning regarding contracting cancer from a cancer cell culture?


A cancerous cell has been changed by some virus that is no longer present and the cancer cell is not able to re assemble the virus or affect the genome of another cell.

Does anyone have any references for working with cancer cells? Does working with these cells require anything more than BLS-1 or BSL-2? Must these be deactivated before discarding?

If anyone has any thoughts or resources regarding working with HeLa or other human and animal cancer cell lines above and beyond what you would do with normal healthy cells, I am listening. Some staff seems to be trivializing this and I am not sure that I agree, I am looking for some reinforcement (on their opinion or mine) and any references or resources in regards to working with cancer cell lines in the lab.


James Saccardo, MS, CHMM

The College of Staten Island

Office of Environmental Health and Safety



“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

                                             Benjamin Franklin

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