Archive: Science Update: The Enduring Legacy of Henrietta Lacks, September 16, 2020

As we celebrate Henrietta Lacks’ 100th birthday, this web seminar presentation will highlight the contributions of HeLa cells to science and medicine, as well as NIH’s unique agreement with the Lacks’ family related to access to HeLa genomic data. Since Ms. Lacks’ untimely death in 1952, HeLa cells have been a vital tool in biomedical research, leading to an increased understanding of the fundamentals of human health and disease.

During the presentation, participants will be introduced to the extraordinary ways HeLa cells have impacted science, including contributions to multiple Nobel Prizes, and critical discoveries related to COVID-19 vaccine development. NIH is continuing to explore ways to honor the legacy of Henrietta Lacks and the lessons learned about building public trust for research in communities of color, including rethinking how we ensure consent for use of medical specimens in research.

View the Archive Video

To view the presentation slides from the web seminar and related resources, visit the resource collection. Continue discussing this topic in the community forums.

Below are comments from individuals who attended the seminar:

  • "The connection between the issue of consent and the mistrust in under represented populations was an interesting dimension."
  • "The idea that participants should be partners in research, underrepresented groups in research, the history leading up to the Common Rule, were very well explained."
  • "The NIH's site on HeLa cells looks very interesting - I plan on exploring it in more detail soon, with the hopes that my students will be able to use it to find information for formative and/or summative assessments."
  • "The presenter did a nice job of distilling this highly technical information into a digestible format - something that can used by an educator."
  • "The topic is fascinating. I have read Skloot's book and enjoyed learning about the most recent developments relevant to HeLa research."

A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' account page for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

For more information contact: [email protected]

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