NASHVILLE, Tenn. In 1951, physicians harvested cancerous cells that led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs. What came to be known as the HeLa cell line, which will reproduce indefinitely under specific conditions, continues be a source of medical data to this day.
However, the patient who supplied those cells – Henrietta Lacks – was an unwitting source. She provided no consent for her cells to be cultured, and neither she nor her family was ever compensated.