Henrietta Lacks’s Family Suing Biotechnology Company For Selling Cells

October 7, 2021

The family of Henrietta Lacks is suing a biotechnology company. The Lacks family is accusing Johns Hopkins Hospital of selling cells that doctors took from the Black woman in 1951 without her knowledge or consent as part of “a racially unjust medical system.”

Tissue taken from the woman’s tumor before she died of cervical cancer, became the first human cells to be successfully cloned. Reproduced infinitely ever since, HeLa cells have become a cornerstone of modern medicine. Enabling countless scientific and medical innovations, including the development of the polio vaccine, genetic mapping and even COVID-19 vaccines. Johns Hopkins said it never sold or profited from the cell lines, but many companies have patented ways of using them.

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Source: AP