Henrietta Lacks changed millions of lives without ever knowing

Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) is notable for being one of the most important people in World history. She became so important without being born into royalty, achieving extraordinary goals or living an extraordinary life. How can this be? It’s because of HeLa.

The HeLa line of cells have been an integral part of an array of scientific discoveries since the 1950s. These cells have been used in the development of the polio vaccine, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, cloning, and even sent to space to test how they behave in zero gravity. The use of these cells is controversial as they were taken without permission from that very Henrietta Lacks dying of cervical cancer. Lacks saved millions of life with her cells.

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By Emw (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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