Deal reached in case involving cells of Henrietta Lacks

08/09/2013 // West Palm Beach , Florida, US // JusticeNewsFlash // Justice News Flash // (press release)

New York – The family of Henrietta Lacks has reached a deal in a case involving the unauthorized use of her DNA. As reported by the Associated Press (AP), in accordance with the agreement announced Wednesday by Lacks’ family members and the National Institutes of Health, the family will be granted some control over access to the DNA code of the cells that were removed from her decades ago.

Lacks was a poor African American patient at Johns Hopkins Hospital who died in 1951 while being treated for cervical cancer. Her cells, known as the HeLa cells, were taken without her consent or the consent of her family and have since been widely used in medical research.

Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan of Duke University’s Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy is quoted by the AP as stating of the recent agreement, ” They’ve basically put (the family) at the table where the decisions are going to be made. That’s really a common-sense thing to have done.”

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