Henrietta Lacks’ Family Sues Biotech Company For Using Her ‘Stolen’ Cells For Research

Henrietta Lacks’ Household Sues Biotech Firm For Utilizing Her ‘Stolen’ Cells For Analysis

The household of Henrietta Lacks is taking authorized motion in opposition to a biotechnology firm that used her stolen cells for groundbreaking analysis.

Henrietta Lacks’ most cancers cells have been infamously used with out her permission again in 1951. And firms just like the defendant, Thermo Fisher Scientific, have benefitted from the cells for many years.

Her property alleges in a brand new lawsuit filed Oct. 4, the seventieth anniversary of her passing, that Johns Hopkins Hospital physicians used the samples with out her information or permission amid “a radically unjust medical system” and Thermo Fisher Scientific nonetheless advantages from the cells immediately.

The tissue that was faraway from her tumor forward of her passing because of cervical most cancers, and marked the first-ever human cells (later known as “immortal cells”) to be cloned efficiently, permitting medical doctors and scientists to make use of them indefinitely for research and analysis. They have been additionally uncommon survivors in lab research whereas different cells died underneath comparable situations.

Lacks’ HeLa cells have been reproduced numerous occasions and contributed to analysis for medical avenues genetic mapping and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Her story has been instructed a number of occasions, together with via a movie, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring Oprah Winfreywho additionally govt produced the mission.


Lawyer Ben Crump serves on Lacks’ household’s authorized group and mentioned,

“It’s outrageous that this firm would assume that they’ve mental rights property to their grandmother’s cells. Why is it they’ve mental rights to her cells and might profit billions of {dollars} when her household, her flesh and blood, her Black kids, get nothing?” 

Johns Hopkins mentioned that whereas it does have an moral duty, however it

“has by no means offered or profited from the invention or distribution of HeLa cells and doesn’t personal the rights to the HeLa cell line.”

In the meantime, different firms have made billions from HeLa cells.

Christopher Seeger, who additionally represents the household, prompt extra lawsuits could be coming quickly, stating Thermo Scientific Fisher

“shouldn’t really feel too alone as a result of they’re going to have numerous firm quickly.”

The lawsuit petitions the courtroom to

“disgorge the total quantity of its internet earnings obtained by commercializing the HeLa cell line to the Property of Henrietta Lacks.”

It says,

“The exploitation of Henrietta Lacks represents the sadly frequent wrestle skilled by Black folks all through historical past. Certainly, Black struggling has fueled innumerable medical progress and revenue, with out simply compensation or recognition. Numerous research, each documented and undocumented, have thrived off the dehumanization of Black folks.”

Thermo Scientific Fisher touts a $35 billion yearly income on its web site.

Ron Lacks, certainly one of Henrietta Lacks’ grandsons mentioned,

“It’s about time. Seventy years later, we mourn Henrietta Lacks, and we’ll have fun taking again management of Henrietta Lacks’ legacy. This is not going to be handed on to a different era of Lackses.”

One other grandson reiterated that the household is “united” within the case.


https://thejasminebrand.com/2021/10/05/henrietta-lacks-family-sues-biotech-company-for-using-her-stolen-cells-for-research/ | Henrietta Lacks’ Household Sues Biotech Firm For Utilizing Her ‘Stolen’ Cells For Analysis


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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