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Today in history in 1951, Henrietta Lacks (born Loretta Pleasant) passed away at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 31.

Her cells, known as “HeLa cells” were stolen & taken without her consent for medical research.
“Henrietta Lacks was only 31 when she died of cervical cancer in 1951 in a Baltimore hospital. Not long before her death, doctors removed some of her tumor cells. They later discovered that the cells could thrive in a lab, a feat no human cells had achieved before.”
“Soon the cells, called HeLa cells, were being shipped from Baltimore around the world.”
“In the more than 60 years since — twice as long as Ms. Lacks’s own life — her cells have been the subject of more than 74,000 studies, many of which have yielded profound insights into cell biology, vaccines, in vitro fertilization and cancer.”
Lacks never consented to her cells’ being studied. For over 60 years, her family had been left out of the decision-making about that research.
In 2013, the National Institutes of Health cane to an agreement with the Lacks family to grant them some control over how Henrietta Lacks’s genome is used.
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