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Lacks Honored by WHO

Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells were taken without her knowledge and fueled decades of biomedical research, has received a posthumous award from the World Health Organization for her contributions to science, according to the Associated Press.

"Henrietta Lacks was exploited. She is one of many women of color whose bodies have been misused by science," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said in a ceremony honoring Lacks, according to the AP. "She placed her trust in the health system so she could receive treatment. But the system took something from her without her knowledge or consent."

As the New York Times notes, Tedros added that the inequality has continued, as HeLa cells have been used, for instance, to develop cervical cancer and COVID-19 vaccines that are not available to poorer nations. Groesbeck Parham, the chair of a WHO group on eliminating cervical cancer, said that the best way to honor Lacks' contribution to science would be to address inequities in science and medicine, the Times adds.

Last week, members of the Lacks family filed a lawsuit against Thermo Fisher Scientific for mass-producing and selling HeLa cells, and a lawyer for the Lacks family has said other companies may also be sued.

The Scan

Could Mix It Up

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a plan that would allow for the mixing-and-matching of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and boosters, the New York Times says.

Closest to the Dog

New Scientist reports that extinct Japanese wolf appears to be the closest known wild relative of dogs.

Offer to Come Back

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the University of Tennessee is offering Anming Hu, a professor who was acquitted of charges that he hid ties to China, his position back.

PNAS Papers on Myeloid Differentiation MicroRNAs, Urinary Exosomes, Maize Domestication

In PNAS this week: role of microRNAs in myeloid differentiation, exosomes in urine, and more.