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Her cells, "HeLa Cells" are used for scientific research.

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Lacks Family While some information leaked out over the years, it wasn't until science writer Rebecca Skloot tracked down Deborah, that the story began to come out.

Johns Hopkins says it never profited from HeLa cells, but millions of dollars have changed hands elsewhere, as the cells were cultured and sold around the world. Lacks' cells were among dozens sent to his lab, but they were the first to ever survive and grow.

She has helped send several Lacks family members to college. Chandelis R. Related: Dr.

The Lacks family was never compensated, but are moving forward and say the impact is bigger than money. Doctor George Gey was working at Hopkins at the time, henryerta to culture cells in the laboratory.

Oprah Honors Henrietta Lacks, the Woman Who Changed Modern Medicine

Using part of her book and movie proceeds, Skloot has set up a foundation for the Lacks family, and others who have contributed to science without their consent. Oprah Speaks Out to Tell Story of Woman Who Changed Medicine April 12, "When other cells are very finicky and you look at them crosswise and they die, her cells grow happily in the laboratory dish decade after decade," explains Dr. It took Deborah Lacks a year to trust the author.

It's something the family says Deborah would have also wanted: to see the next generation carrying on Henrietta's legacy.

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But for decades, the Lacks family had no idea. She has reported from around the world and covered some of the hrnryetta stories in recent years including Hurricane Katrina, the Japanese tsunami and the Newtown massacre. Scientists henryettx these resilient cells "HeLa" — taking first two letters of "Henrietta" and "Lacks. Jeri Lacks Whye speaks across the country about their grandmother's legacy.

Duster and Kristen Dahlgren She saved millions of lives and made a critical contribution to the world of medicine, but unless you're in the medical field — you've probably never even heard her name.

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She wanted to learn about her mother, and once she realized what an incredible story it was, she wanted Oprah Winfrey to play her in the movie. Duster is reporter for NBC News.

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And they didn't explain to Henrietta's children, you know, what they were doing. Henrietta Lacks was a young, black, mother of five when she died in after being diagnosed with an aggressive cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins. And then a simple fact that they came to the family, you know, 20 years later after they took Henrietta's cells in the 's and they came to the family to do research.

Her cells, "HeLa Cells" are used for scientific research.

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The family had been deceived before. Murrow award winning journalist.

We are in their debt," said Dr. And did she have any kids? And what do they think about all this? Duster Chandelis R. That's a form of philanthropy. Doctors came to test the family's blood for more research, but Deborah Lacks and her siblings didn't understand what it meant. Her cells, a unique and aggressive laet, were later described as one in three billion. It was like, they forfeited information.

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And I was like, 'Well, what else do we know about her? Dahlgren is based in New York. Skloot says she first heard the name Henrietta Lacks in a high school biology class. Lacks Family Henrietta's oldest son Lawrence has spoken out about people profiting from the movie and book. And the family has been asking and wanting to know," said Jeri Lacks Whye, granddaughter of Laet Lacks.

The mega celebrity, who was once a reporter in Baltimore, was amazed she had never heard the story before. She was black with limited education, limited finances and look what hendyetta has done for the world," says Jeri proudly. Related: Christen Johnson is Pushing For Diversity In Medicine "I think we ought to think of the Lacks family as some of the greatest philanthropists in medicine of all time because of the way the HeLa cells have contributed to breakthroughs in many directions.