CenterWatch iConnect Jeryl Release: Immortalizing the Patient Cell Lines

On 21st March, 1963, Jeryl Lynn Hilleman, a 5 year old, woke up her dad at 1 am with a sore throat and the rest is history. Jeryls’ dad was none other than Dr. Maurice Hilleman. He gave the world the MMR vaccine, the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella that he invented, starting with the mumps strain he collected that night from his daughter. The strains of mumps virus were named Jeryl Lynn after his daughter.

The new Jeryl release of the CenterWatch iConnect system is named after Jeryl Lynn to honor vaccine research and the role of patients in vaccine development. The Jeryl release was planned during the COVID pandemic and we felt that naming iConnect version 4.0 as Jeryl would be a timely dedication to the thousands of people who have volunteered during this pandemic to help in the successful completion of vaccine trials for COVID. 

The Jeryl release has concentrated on patient experience and aims to improve comprehension of clinical trials and extend an easier immersive experience for the patients or family members searching for appropriate clinical trials using the platform. The simpler language, common keywords and the various options would empower the patient to find an appropriate trial and help the patient to reach out and connect with the research team.  

The use of human samples such as that of Jeryl Lynn is an integral part of biomedical research. Tissue samples or cell culture studies provide greater understanding in the areas of developmental biology, protein and gene expression, genetic evolution and vaccine development. 

A story similar to Jeryl’s is that of Henrietta, the inspiration for our next iConnect release. In 1951, Dr. George Gey of Johns Hopkins University isolated some cells from a cervical cancer biopsy and placed them into a petri dish with some medium. Unlike all of the other cells Gey and his colleagues had tested, those from a patient named Henrietta Lacks, adapted to their new environment beautifully. Lacks died of her cancer eight months later, but her cells, dubbed HeLa, became the first immortalized cell line, capable of renewing itself in artificial culture indefinitely. 

iConnect will continue to recognize the warriors of biomedical research in its upcoming releases.