Henrietta Lacks’ “stolen” cells have revolutionized medicine. Now his family will be compensated

Henrietta Lacks cells multiply rapidly and are stable.

Photo: Josef Reischig

family this week Henrietta Lackswhose cells were vital to various medical developments during the 20th century reached an agreement with Thermo Fisher, one of the laboratories that used their cells without consent. cells for decades as the basis of their research and new scientific developments.

The African American case has been repeatedly described as a “historical mistake” or injustice. In 1951, when Lux was 31, she began to experience unusual vaginal bleeding. Considering the situation, a woman who had five children and was poor went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimorethe only one that accepted patients in such a socio-economic situation.

He was then told at the medical center that he cervical cancer. Lax died a few months after his diagnosis, at the age of 31. But before her death, doctors at the hospital took samples of her cancer cells without the woman’s knowledge or consent.

It wasn’t illegal at the time, so a researcher named George Gay obtained samples from Not enough cells. In the laboratory, it turned out that cells have a great ability to survive and reproduce, so they began to be called “immortal”. (You may also want to read: Half of the population can develop a mental disorder during their lifetime)

Therefore, the sample of cells, which eventually became hela line (for the first and last initials of an African-American woman), the first human cell line, reproduced using continuous laboratory cultures, was transferred to other scientists.

This has become a kind of “fuel” for the research of modern medicine; approximately 50 million tons of his cells have been produced since he removed Lax’s cell tissue. They have been used to develop a polio vaccine and research into infectious diseases. Until recently, they were used to investigate covid-19 vaccines.

During this time, however, Lacks’ descendants received no compensation for the use of Henrietta Lacks’ cells by various laboratories. One of them was Thermo Fisher. In 2021, the Lacks family filed a lawsuit against the corporation in Baltimore federal court, alleging that his family “didn’t see a dime” of the money Thermo Fisher made on cell line culture HeLa.

So, the lawsuit accused the laboratory of unjust enrichment, claiming that it illegally sold Not enough genetic material. “The suffering of black women has contributed to countless medical advances and benefits without fair compensation or recognition,” the document says. (You may be interested in: The government kicks off its health care reform with a decree that changes a lot in La Guajira)

The terms of the agreement that was reached are not yet known, as they are confidential. However, in a statement, Thermo Fisher and the family’s attorneys, Ben Crump and Chris Seeger, expressed satisfaction with the agreement.

While the agreement is the first of its kind, Christopher Ayers, another lawyer representing the Lacks family, told Nature that further lawsuits could be filed. “There are other companies that are fully aware of the unethical and illegal origin of HeLa cells and decide to take advantage of this injustice,” he said. “For those who don’t want to sit at the table and do what’s right for the family, we will continue to sue them.”

The Importance of Henrietta Lacks Cells

By the time Lux’s cells got into the hands of researcher George Gay at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, he had been trying to grow cells from tumor biopsies for some time. However, as El País recalls, they quickly died.

Not enough cells, on the contrary, are reproduced every 24 hours. Gay was the one who named this material the HeLa line, which was soon passed on to researchers and other Johns Hopkins University hospitals. This institution stated on its website that “Johns Hopkins has never sold or profited from the discovery or distribution HeLa cells and does not own the rights to the HeLa cell line. Rather, Johns Hopkins offered HeLa cells freely and widely for scientific research.”

Since then, the line has been used for research underlying many important medical advances. For example, as this article recalls, when Gay began breeding the HeLa line, a polio epidemic was raging in the United States.

Then he found in cells an ideal field for developing research. “With the support of other scientists, he showed that HeLa cells are particularly susceptible to poliovirus infection, and therefore proved to be an ideal patient for vaccine testing. In addition, HeLa cells were undemanding to culture and transport, so samples of this cell culture could be sent almost all over the world, ”the article says.

The cells have also been used to make drugs for herpes, leukemia, influenza, hemophilia, and Parkinson’s disease. Their uses were so varied that they were also one of the first specimens sent into space to study the effects of weightlessness, and were used to better understand the effects of weightlessness. Atomic bomb in people. They also served to develop treatments in vitro fertilization and cloning.

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About Allen Whyte

I'm Allen Whyte, a writer for suboonews.xyz with 5 years of experience. I love bringing you the latest news and stories from around the world. Join me on this exciting journey as we explore the fascinating world we live in!

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