Henrietta Lacks

4 year ago · Darina Snell · 0 Comment
Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman wasn't so lucky to live as long as some of our heroes listed here. She died of terminal cervical cancer, when she was just 31, but she left an immortal legacy. After she gave birth to her fifth child, Henrietta noticed an abnormal bleeding and reported to feel a "knot inside of her". When possible pregnancy and syphilis were ruled out, doctors found a lump in her cervix. As a part of her treatment both cancerous and healthy cells were removed. They were handed to Dr. Otto Gey, who eventually discovered that her cells could do something no one has ever seen before - they could be kept alive and grown. This is how the immortal cell line, named HeLa (after Henrietta), was discovered. Prior to this, human cells could only be kept alive for a few days and researchers actually spend more time trying to keep them alive than to be able to do any kind of research. It should come as no surprise that when Otto Gey found Henrietta Lacks' cells, there were some truly ground breaking discoveries in medicine. After she died Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave in Lackstown Virginia. A headstone was later donated to her family to place on her grave. It read: Henrietta Lacks, August 01, 1920-October 04, 1951. In loving memory of a phenomenal woman, wife and mother who touched the lives of many. Here lies Henrietta Lacks (HeLa). Her immortal cells will continue to help mankind forever. Eternal Love and Admiration, From Your Family Since then her cells have been shipped to laboratories all over the world and she keeps saving and impacting the lives of millions! Even though her family received no royalties, it won recognition for the revolutionised medical research and a foundation has been established in her name.

Henrietta Lacks

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