|Rapid City audience hears story of medical strides through deceit|
|Tuesday, 17 April 2012 15:40|
Her cells were taken by doctors at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in 1951 while she was undergoing cancer treatment but those cells are known today as some of the most important tools in the medical field.
Shawn Degroot with Rapid City Regional Hospital says, "Henrietta had no knowledge that her cells were taken and used for research without her permission. Taken but created multiple vaccines that have benefited everybody internationally." Henrietta's son David has traveled across the country talking about his mother and her contribution to modern medicine. David "Sonny" Lacks says, "She was a giving person and her cells gave life to the world, so I think she wouldn't mind. I think she would have been really glad to give her cells."
David and his family were never even aware that their mother's cells existed until 25 years after her death. Even several decades later, Henrietta's cells known as HeLa cells are still growing. David says, "When I first went to see her cells grow and divide, it was amazing. I was looking through the microscope and her cells were actually dividing right in front of my eyes." HeLa cells have been used for research in a variety of areas from HPV, leukemia, polio and Parkinson's disease. Although she passed away back in the 1950s, Henrietta Lacks continues to leave her mark on the medical world to this day.