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Henrietta Lacks, whose cells were taken without her consent, is honored by WHO

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Henrietta Lacks, the mother of five blacks who died of cervical cancer in 1951, I went to The Johns Hopkins Hospital In Baltimore for treatment.

Without her knowledge and consent, the doctor took a sample of cells from her cervical tumor. They handed the sample to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. He was trying to find cells that survived indefinitely, so researchers were able to experiment with them.

The invasive procedure has led to world-changing discoveries. The cells thrived and proliferated in the laboratory. This is something that human cells have never done before. They have been replicated billions of times, contributing to nearly 75,000 studies and paving the way for the development of HPV vaccines, drugs used to help patients with HIV and AIDS, and more recently the Covid-19 vaccine. It was useful for.

On Wednesday, 70 years after Mr. Lux died in the “colored ward” of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and was buried in an unbranded grave, the World Health Organization praised her for her unknowing contribution to science and medicine. I did.

During the ceremony in GenevaDr. Tedros Adanom Gebreyes, WHO Secretary, awarded the Secretary’s Award to Mr. Lux’s son Lawrence Lux, who was 16 years old when his mother died on October 4, 1951.

Lux’s great-grandson, Victoria Baptist, said the family was “humility” with the announcement and approval of the “black woman in a tobacco field in Clover, Virginia.”

“Henrietta’s contribution was once hidden, but now it’s justified in its global impact,” said registered nurse Batiste.

Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist, said about 50 million metric tons of cells, known as HeLa cells, are being used by researchers and scientists around the world.

“When you think about it, this is just huge,” said Dr. Swaminasan. “I can’t think of any other single cell line or reagent that has been used so far and has made a lot of progress.”

According to Lax, he moved from Virginia to Baltimore with his husband, David Lux, in the 1940s, looking for better opportunities for his family. Henrietta Lacks Initiative, An organization founded by her grandchildren.

She went to Johns Hopkins for help after experiencing severe vaginal bleeding. Eight months after she learned she had cervical cancer, she was 31 when she died.

Neither she nor her family were said to have been given a tissue sample from her tumor to Dr. George Gay, a Johns Hopkins medical researcher.

According to the Henrietta Lacks Initiative, the cells from the sample had unique elasticity, doubled every 24 hours, and were able to grow normally outside the human body for more than 36 hours.

Breakthrough thrilling scientists and researchers who developed the first polio vaccines and used them to produce drugs for other diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, leukemia, and flu.

But Mr. Lux Identity remained hidden by researchers.. Her family was unaware of her cell use until 1973 when scientists asked for blood samples to study their genes. “Henrietta Luck’s Immortal Life” Rebecca Square’s best-selling book has also been turned In a movie with Oprah Winfrey..

Not only are Lux’s descendants proud of what her cells have accomplished, but they are also angry about how she was treated by her doctor. That anger was exacerbated only by the commercialization of her cells.

Dr. Gay, who studied Mr. Lux’s organization, did not benefit from his work. But for decades, biotechnology companies have commercialized and sold cells, even if Lux’s family wasn’t compensated.

“Good luck has been brought,” Dr. Tedros said Wednesday. “Science has advanced. It won the Nobel Prize and, most importantly, saved many lives.”

“There is no doubt that Henrietta was pleased that her suffering saved others,” he continued. “But the end does not justify the means.”

October 4, girlfriend grandson Sue Thermo Fisher ScientificAccording to a federal lawsuit, a biotechnology company accused them of “consciously choosing to sell and mass-produce Henrietta Lacks organisms.”

The family said Thermo Fisher paid $ 9.9 million to demand that Mr. Lux’s real estate “destroy all of the net profits from the commercialization of the HeLa cell line.”

At a press conference, family lawyer Christopher Seger suggested that more biotechnology companies could be sued.

“They shouldn’t feel too lonely, as they will soon have many companies,” Thermo Fisher said, Mr. Seger.

Based in Waltham, Massachusetts, Thermo Fisher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dr. Tedros said Wednesday that the fraud that began with the removal of Mr. Lux’s cells continued. He said, for example, vaccines that help prevent cervical cancer and prevent Covid-19 remain inaccessible to poor countries.

Another speaker, Groesbeck Parham, co-chair of the Secretary’s Expert Group on Cervical Cancer Eradication, said the most effective way to recognize Mr. Lux’s contribution is to stop health and science inequality. Said that.

“In this way, I give my heartfelt respect to Mrs. Henrietta Lacks and make her miracle immortal.”

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2/ https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/science/henrietta-lacks-cells-who.html

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