Paying Patients for Their Tissue: The Legacy of Henrietta Lacks

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Science  06 Jul 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6090, pp. 37-38
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216888

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In The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot tells the moving story of the woman who was the source of the first immortal cell line (HeLa) (1). The cells were obtained at Johns Hopkins University in 1951 from biopsies performed during her treatment for cervical cancer. Her physicians did not seek her consent before using her tissue for research, nor did they receive any personal financial gain from the cell line.