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Henrietta Lacks statue

Source: Ben Birchall – PA Images / Getty

Henrietta Lacks has been posthumously honored by the World Health Organization (WHO) for her “immortal” cell line that helped change medical history.It was in 1951 while Lacks underwent treatment for cervical cancer and physician George Gey at Johns Hopkins, extracted two small tissue samples to help with his cancer research – all unbeknownst to Lacks

these cells “have allowed for incalculable scientific breakthroughs” related to treatments for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, polio vaccine, medicines for HIV and cancer, COVID-19 research “It’s also an opportunity to recognize women – particularly women of color – who have made incredible but often unseen contributions to medical science.” Lacks’ name was overlooked in the science world until recent years. Her 87 year old son accept the award on her behalf.

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