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Johns Hopkins to Name Building for Henrietta Lacks, 67 Years After Stealing Her Cells for Research

HeadlineOct 09, 2018

And in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University announced plans to name a new research building after Henrietta Lacks, a former patient of the university hospital who has become known for her “immortal cells.” Lacks, an African-American woman, was a patient at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in 1951. While receiving treatment for cancer, researchers collected her cells and eventually used them to create HeLa cells—a strain of self-replicating cells that have led to numerous advances in medicine, including the development of the polio vaccine. She died later that year. In recent years, her family has spoken out about the university’s use of Lacks’s cells, which were taken without her consent or knowledge, raising questions about privacy and patients’ rights, as well as whether the family should receive compensation for their use.

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