After being diagnosed with cervical cancer at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951, a sample of Henrietta Lacks’s cancer cells were taken without her consent by a researcher. And though she succumbed to the disease at the age of 31 that same year, her cells would go on to advance medical research for years to come, as they had the unique ability to double every 20-24 hours. “They have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, and played a crucial role in the development of the polio vaccine,” Johns Hopkins said. In 2017, Oprah starred in and executive produced HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, adapted from the book by Rebecca Skloot.
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