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HENRIETTA LACKS FOUNDATION RECEIVES TWO HISTORIC GIFTS

HHoward Hughes Medical Institute and Francis Collins donate to the Foundation

October 28, 2020, Portland, Oregon – The Henrietta Lacks Foundation is pleased to announce that the Howard Hughs Medical Institute (HHMI), the largest private, nonprofit biomedical research institution in the United States, has made a six figure gift to support the Foundation, which provides grants to members of the Lacks family and other eligible grantees.

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WEALTHY FUNDER PAYS REPARATIONS FOR USE OF HELA CELLS

Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s six-figure donation is a step towards addressing racial injustice in the sciences.

Nature Research, October 29, 2020 – A major biomedical-research organization has for the first time aimed to make financial reparation for the continuing experimental use of cells from Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose unknowing donation gave rise to the historic ‘HeLa’ cell line, which has been a mainstay of biological research for decades. The Henrietta Lacks Foundation announced the six-figure gift from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on 29 October.

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HENRIETTA LACKS AND HER REMARKABLE CELLS WILL FINALLY SEE SOME PAYBACK

Research labs and companies gained financially from the Black woman’s cancer cells. Decades later, two entities are donating money to her foundation.

The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2020 – In 1951, scientists too 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.

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ABCAM CONTRIBUTES HISTORIC GIFT TO HENRIETTA LACKS FOUNDATION

First gift of its kind to benefit Lacks descendants’ STEM education

August 3, 2020, Portland, Oregon – The Henrietta Lacks Foundation is pleased to announce that Abcam, a global innovator in life science reagents and tools, has made a significant gift to the foundation to support higher education scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This is the first major gift from a company that has benefited directly from the HeLa cell line.

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UCSD STATEMENT

August 1, 2020 – “In steadfast support of the Black voices calling for equality, our lab is discussing what we can do as scientists to create actionable change against racism and injustice in our past, present and future. Our inspiration comes from the case of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cells (HeLa) have become invaluable to biomedical research and were instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine.”

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RETURNING THE BLESSINGS OF AN IMMORTAL LIFE

If there was one thing Rebecca Skloot was certain of when writing “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” it was that she did not want to profit from the Lacks family without giving something in return.

New York Times, Feb 4, 2011 – For half a century, biotechnology companies and scientists have used the astonishingly hardy cancer cells that killed Henrietta Lacks to develop countless medical breakthroughs and establish a multimillion-dollar industry selling her cell line, known as HeLa.

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