The immortal cells of the girl Henrietta Lacks are one of the most important and productive tools in medicine, they are used in the development of polio vaccine, cloning and genetic mapping, but they were collected without her permission, and her family did not benefit from their commercial use.
The Lax family finally reached a settlement with Thermo Fisher Scientific regarding their commercial use of their daughter’s cells, which they named” HeLa “cells (the initials of lax’s name).
Henrietta Lacks, an African tobacco farmer, was a mother of five when she died of cervical cancer in 1951, and at the hospital they took two samples from her cervix (a healthy part and a cancerous part) without her permission or knowledge.
Dr. George Otto guy discovered that cells can do something unprecedented in human cells, which is to survive and continue to grow indefinitely, as the cultured cells lived only a few days in the laboratory.
Since then, these cells have been exposed to poisons, viruses and radiation, sent into space many times, helped in the development of polio vaccine, cloning and genetic mapping, according to an article published in the scientific journal “Science Alert”.
As of 2014, scientists have grown about 20 tons of “HeLa” cells, and there are almost 11,000 patents related to them. And in 2010, a tube of cells was sold for about 260 US dollars.
But, unfortunately, Henrietta’s family was not compensated with anything, most of them could not even afford health insurance.