TN Tribune–Today, October 4, 2021 marks the 70th Anniversary of Mrs. Henrietta Lacks’ death. On February 1, 1951, Mrs. Lacks’  cervical cancer cells were illegally lifted during her doctor’s appointment without her knowledge or consent by Dr. Otto Gey, M.D. – her medical physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Today, HeLa Cells are being cultured by Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs) and sold to Clinical Research Organizations (CROs). These CROs are maintaining multi-generations of HeLa Cells via cell banks and licensing them for use in cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization research – including Big Pharma drug discovery operations.There are over 17,000 U.S. Patents issued for HeLa Cells.

HeLa Cells are the foundation of drug discovery for blockbuster drug therapeutics currently being used to treat patients in multiple disease areas including cancer, infectious diseases and infertility. To be specific, HeLa Cells have been utilized to develop treatments for Parkinson’s Disease, Hemophilia, Polio Vaccine, HPV Vaccine, etc. Currently, the U.S. Market is “stocked-out” of HeLa Cells due to their usage in the drug discovery for the COVID-19 Vaccine.In 1981, The U.S. Federal Government established The Common RuleThe Common Rule enforces informed consent by ensuring that doctors inform patients if they plan to use any details of the patient’s case in research. They must offer patients a choice on disclosing their personal details. Tissues associated with donors’ names are also strictly regulated under this rule. Donor samples are no longer named using donor initials and are instead identified by codes.

The issue of who owns tissue samples taken for research was ruled in the Supreme Court of California case of Moore v. Regents of the University of California in 1990. The court ruled that a person’s discarded tissue and cells are not his or her property and can be commercialized. Today, the global biotech/biopharma industry continues to make billions in profit from drug therapeutics that are discovered and commercialized from the use of HeLa Cells within their respective R&D programs. 

The U.S. Federal Government has reportedly spent an estimated $9B USD on developing and manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccines. This does not include the distribution costs or the $100 pay checks issued per order of U.S. President Biden to incentivize U.S. citizens to take the vaccine. However, Mrs. Henrietta Lacks, and her family have not been allowed to file any patents on HeLa Cells nor have they been compensated for the continuous violation of Mrs. Lacks rights as a human being and U.S. medical patient. 

The U.S. biotech/biopharma commercial market is contradictory to The Common Rule. The name “HeLa” is the primary and direct identifier of the cervical cancer cells lifted from Mrs. Henrietta Lacks’ in 1951. Additionally, the joint committee led by NIH, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and members of Lacks Family is worthless due to the Supreme Court ruling that HeLa Cells could be legally commercialized without her consent and/or rights to receive any compensation from the revenue generated from the sale of her cells – per the case of Moore v. Regents of the University of California.The immortality of HeLa Cells are representative of Mrs. Lacks’ limitless contributions to the profitability of biotech/biopharma companies around the globe.

HeLa Cells should be renamed via a numeric code per The Common Rule; and the Lacks’ Family should be awarded the sole U.S. Patent for HeLa Cells. Furthermore, CMOs and CROs that are found guilty for cultivating and selling HeLa Cells – including biotech/biopharma companies that utilized them in the discovery of their respective drug therapeutics – with out the Lacks Family’s consent via the NIH / John Hopkins Hospital joint committee, shall be ordered to pay a significant portion of their profit revenues to the Lacks’ Family indefinitely.Tomorrow, IndyGeneUS AI and my company – HelaPlex will be hosting an event entitled, Genetic Justice #fortheculture. During the event will be announcing our strategic partnership; but more importantly, we will be discussing precision health equity for Black, Indigenous , People of Color (BIPOC).

Mrs. Lacks’ story is one that highlights how Black people have been historically mistreated & exploited by the U.S. Healthcare System. The IndyGeneUS AI + HelaPlex partnership provides a solution to drive precision health equity for BIPOC – including a strategy to responsibly recruit members of the BIPOC community for medical research and fairly compensate them for their contributions to global biotech/biopharma industries

Join us tomorrow 10-5-21! at 6:00PM – 7:00PM EST to learn more about how IndyGeneUS AI & HelaPlex will set the precedent to prevent the exploitation of the genetic data that is naturally owned by Africans and people within the African Diaspora. This is Genetic Justice #fortheculture.#GeneticJustice #fortheculture #drugdiscovery #blackgenomics #precisionmedicine #medicalresearch #precisionhealth #equitycantwait