Feds, Family Reach Deal On Use of DNA Information

Nearly 60 years after the biotech industry largely benefited from studying Henrietta Lacks's, her family may now have a say in access of her DNA code.

(Photo: AP Photo/Lacks Family via The Henrietta Lacks Foundation)

NEW YORK (AP) — Some 60 years ago, a doctor in Baltimore removed cancer cells from a poor black patient named Henrietta Lacks without her knowledge or consent. Those cells eventually helped lead to a multitude of medical treatments and laid the groundwork for the multibillion-dollar biotech industry.

It's a saga made famous by the 2010 best-seller "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."

Now, for the first time, the Lacks family has been given a say over at least some research involving her cells.

Lacks' family members have never shared in any of the riches unlocked by the material, and they won't make any money under the agreement announced Wednesday.

But they will have some control over scientific access to the cells' DNA code.

They had expressed privacy concerns about making that information public.
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