Family’s delight as statue of medical pioneer Henrietta Lacks unveiled

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A statue of a black woman whose cells led to crucial medical advances has been unveiled at the University of Bristol. The artwork of Henrietta Lacks is the first public sculpture of a black woman made by a black woman in the UK. Lacks, a young mother born in the US in 1920, died from an aggressive form of cervical cancer in 1951 but a sample of her cells were found to be the first ever to survive and multiply outside the body. Research on the cells led to the polio vaccine, gene mapping and IVF treatment, among other advances, and resulted in her being named the “mother” of modern medicine.

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