Who was Henrietta Lacks? When and where did she live?

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Henrietta Lacks was born in Roanoke, Virginia on August 1, 1920. She died on October 4, 1951 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. She was an African American woman and mother of five children. She grew up in Virginia and moved to Maryland with her husband. Henrietta Lacks died from cancer. She is extremely important in the world of science because cells of hers that were biopsied without her consent became the first immortalized cell line. These cells are now known as HeLa cells. They are unique and important for medical research because of how well they grow in tissue culture. Instead of dying after a couple of days, the HeLa cells have exceptionally high reproduction rates; therefore, the cells can be kept alive for much longer. Jonas Salk even used HeLa cells in 1954 to develop his polio vaccine.

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