2021-10-08 12:22:05

Family of Henrietta Lacks Files Lawsuit over Use of Stolen Cells, Lambasts Racist Medical System

The family of Henrietta Lacks has filed a lawsuit against biotech company Thermo Fisher Scientific for making billions in profit from the “HeLa” cell line.

Henrietta Lacks was an African American patient at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Doctors kept her tissue samples without her consent for experimental studies while treating her for cervical cancer in 1951.

Benjamin Crump, one of the lawyers for the case, filed 70 years after her death, calls Henrietta Lacks a “cornerstone of modern medicine,” as her cells have since played a part in cancer research, the polio vaccine and even COVID-19 vaccines.

Ron Lacks, author and grandson of Henrietta Lacks, laments the fact that the family was never notified when his grandmother died, and that part of what motivates the lawsuit is to ensure “no other family should ever go through this.”

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