Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Henrietta Lacks Unknowingly Contributed “Incredible” DNA Cells That Are Still Being Used in Critical Medical Research Today

Today, these incredible cells— nicknamed “HeLa” cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, and played a crucial role in the development of the polio vaccine.

-Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Henrietta Lacks  (neé Loretta Pleasant) 8/1/1920- 10/4/1951

  • Diagnosed with cervical cancer after giving birth to her fifth child
  • Lacks’ cancer cells were used, without her knowledge, to create the HeLa cell line which is still used in medical research today.
  • (2013) Researchers published DNA sequencing information of a strain of HeLa cells, which prompted Henrietta Lacks’ family to raise privacy concerns.
  • Lacks’ family is now involved in access and control of HeLa DNA via committee; even still, knowledge and use of her genetic information (and cells) continues to be an critical issue relative to patient privacy and rights.

Learn more by following the links

Johns Hopkins- Henrietta Lacks’ Legacy

Nature – Henrietta Lacks and racial inequities in U.S. research and healthcare

Henrietta Lacks’ biography

7 thoughts on “Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Henrietta Lacks Unknowingly Contributed “Incredible” DNA Cells That Are Still Being Used in Critical Medical Research Today

    1. I mean!!!!! Seriously! It just goes on and on…
      So recently, I had forgot to post the audio to one of the AFC discussions so I had to repost it but Ron and I talked about how, just when you think it can’t get any worse, the trauma history just sinks deeper and deeper.
      All I gotta say is if there is a such thing as heaven we definitely got a spot up in that joint! We’ve suffered enough!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Khaya so much for your comment.
      I’ll be honest, I cried when looking at her picture while creating this post. We’ve been through soooooooooo much!
      Thanks again for stopping by 💋🙏🏾

      Liked by 1 person

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