Lacks was an African-American cancer patient and mother in Jim Crow Baltimore in 1951. At Johns Hopkins Hospital, as she lay unconscious, a physician cut a small sample of Lacks’ cervical tumor for a culture specimen. No permission was given by the unconscious patient or her family — an action violating no ethical standards of the time. A remarkable story of genetics and biology, 1950's racial discrimination, evolving medical ethics, the Lacks descendants and US law itself.
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