In the News

Henrietta Lacks and Her Remarkable Cells Will Finally See Some Payback

By Amy Dockser Marcus | The Wall Street Journal

In 1951, scientists took a Black woman’s cancer cells without her consent. The cells of Henrietta Lacks proved invaluable for research, and labs and companies gained financially from using them for decades, with nothing for her or her family.

Now, two entities that benefited say they are giving back.

Abcam ABC -0.08% PLC, a 1,400-person life-sciences company with headquarters in the U.K., is making a gift to the Henrietta Lacks Foundation to support higher-education scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics for descendants of Ms. Lacks. The foundation and company aren’t disclosing the amount of the gift.

The lab of Samara Reck-Peterson, an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of cellular and molecular medicine and of biological sciences at the University of California San Diego, said it utilizes the cells, commonly known as HeLa cells after Ms. Lacks, to study and ask research questions. The lab will donate $100 to the foundation for each of the four cell lines that lab members created in the past by making changes to the HeLa cells, and for any cell lines they make in the future.

The comlete article can be read at


« Return to In the News