Lab-Grown Meat Made From ‘Immortalized’ Cancer Cells

Cancer researchers claim that because the cancer cells are not human, it is very unlikely they will replicate in humans.

  • The same cells used to “produce vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and other biotherapeutics” are now being used for human consumption, according to a report from Bloomberg.
  • Due to the nature of growing meat in labs, scientists employ “immortalized” cancer cells, or cells that are technically “precancerous and can be, in some cases, fully cancerous,” reads the Bloomberg report.
  • The first immortalized cell line came from Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s, when a scientist at Johns Hopkins Hospital used Lacks’ cervical cancer cells and developed the first immortal human cell line. The cells were used to develop the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization.
  • The primary difference between normal cells and immortalized cells is that the immortal cells, “by nature of their name, “divide forever” and grow, whereas normal cells reach a stopping point of growth, according to the report.
  • Robert Weinberg, who discovered cancer is linked with genetics, stated, “If a cell is immortalized, that implies that it’s already completed one of the prerequisites to become a cancer cell.”
  • “It’s essentially impossible for a cell from one species to gain a foothold in the tissues of another species,” added Weinberg, “So even if one were to take highly malignant cells from a cow and drink them, I don’t see what the problem would be.”
  • Despite immortalized animal cells reportedly not posing a threat to humans, the cultured meat industry is “anxious about its use of immortalized cells and is doing what it can to avoid the subject.”
  • For example, Upside Foods, a California-based lab-meat company, had lab-grown chicken taste testers sign a waiver, stating, “The cultured meat and related food products in the Tasting are experimental … The properties are not completely known.”
  • Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes “all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef,” he wrote in the MIT Technology Review.
  • “You can get used to the taste difference,” he said.
  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) published an article explaining why people “will be eating replacement meats within 20 years.”
  • The article says synthetic meats will help maintain the supply chain and is a solution to combat so-called climate change.
  • Oxford shares a similar sentiment, claiming that “cultured meat” produces 96% fewer greenhouse gases than traditionally-produced meat.
  • The university’s study suggested that lab-grown meat uses “45% less energy, 99% lower land use, and 96% lower water use than conventional meat.”
  • American Faith reported that a Beyond Meat factory was contaminated with mold.
  • The Pennsylvania Beyond Meat plant tested positive for the bacteria Listeria eleven times throughout 2021 and 2022.