Virginia board named after Henrietta Lacks, tasked with developing cancer research center to meet

Associated Press

Named after Henrietta Lacks, a Virginia state board tasked with developing plans for a cancer research and treatment center is set to convene for the first time.

The Henrietta Lacks Commission is named for Lacks, a Virginia woman whose cells were taken without her consent and widely used in groundbreaking research. It will meet Wednesday in South Boston.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation earlier this year creating the board, which will work on plans for the research and treatment center in Halifax County, where Lacks was from.

Lacks died in 1951 of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins University, where researchers discovered her cells reproduced indefinitely in test tubes.

The so-called HeLa cells, named for Lacks, have since contributed to the treatment of thousands of patients and many scientific breakthroughs.

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