Keisha Ray interviewed by STAT for piece about Henrietta Lacks settlement

By Angela Gomez, McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics
August 2, 2023

A recent article in STAT discusses the Henrietta Lacks settlement reached between Lacks’ family and Thermo Fisher Scientific for the use of Lacks’ cells without her consent 70 years ago. In the piece, “Henrietta Lacks Settlement Hailed by Experts as Step Toward Correcting Medicine’s Racist History,” Keisha Ray, PhD, discusses that many are unaware of the groups of people who have been taken advantage of and harmed by the medical establishment. In Lacks’ case, cells were taken without her permission and, later, sold by biotech companies and shared freely by other institutions for research. Her cells, known as HeLa cells continue to be used worldwide and have, to date, been used in at least 75,000 studies. Ray argues that, regardless of whether the cells were sold or not, Lacks’ exploitation does not absolve institutions of ethical responsibility.