Johns Hopkins to name building in honor of Henrietta Lacks

Johns Hopkins announced over the weekend that it will name a new building on the medical campus in East Baltimore in honor of Henrietta Lacks.

"Henrietta Lacks, through her life and her immortal cell line, had an immeasurable impact on medical science, touched countless lives around the world, and contributed to the transformation of the ethical standards that must always undergird scientific inquiry," school officials said in a letter to the Hopkins community.

Lacks was being treated for an aggressive cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital when doctors discovered the first "immortal" human cell line in samples taken from her during a biopsy.

The cell line - which they say is commonly known as HeLa cells - contributed to a number of medical advances, including the development of the polio vaccine, along with the study of leukemia and other cancers.

The announcement was made as part of the Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture.

The new building will be next to the Berman Institute of Bioethics' Deering Hall, and will face Eager Park.

Click here to learn additional details about Henrietta Lacks and the new building.