As Cervical Cancer Awareness month has come to and end and Black History month begins, we would like to honor the intersectionality between cervical cancer and black history health pioneer Henrietta Lacks.
In 1951, Henrietta Lacks complained of irregular vaginal bleeding and was later diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer. During her radiation treatment, her cervical cancers cells were utilized in a lab led by George Otto- Gey a prominent cell biologist in Baltimore for extensive research.
Upon his findings and placement of her cells in specific culture, he discovered her cells were immortal. Henrietta’s cells reproduced indefinitely an were the only human line known to do so at that time. From there onward, the medical community utilized HeLa cells continuously for scientific research and have been known to contribute in prolific discoveries.
HeLa cells helped to develop the polio vaccine, in vitro fertilization, genetics, AIDS research, cancer research, effects of radiation, cloned human cells and the development of the HPV vaccine. Lack’s contribution to the medical community is boundary-less and we are incredibly grateful for her cells for saving the lives ,preventing deaths and more over time.
Happy Black History Month and World Cancer Day!