BALTIMORE — This morning there was a hearing on a lawsuit filed against pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher over selling HeLa cells.
The first immortal cell line has a complicated history.
They've been a vital asset in modern medicine. A prime example of civil and medical rights violation and a constant burden for one family in particular.
They're named after Henrietta Lacks, the 31-year-old black woman they were taken from in the 1950's, without her consent.
The Lacks family is attempting to sue Thermo Fisher for profiting off the tissue despite knowing its unjust origin.
"We're here today in what we believe is a landmark race dealing with medical racism. We intend to tell the court that the HeLa cells were not derived from Hennrietta Lacks. The HeLa cells are Henrietta Lacks," said attorney Ben Crump.
Thermo Fisher has moved to try and dismiss the case.