BALTIMORE (AP) — The University of Maryland is holding its second Henrietta Lacks Symposium on health disparities.

Thursday’s event in Baltimore is named in honor of the woman whose tumor cells were taken without her knowledge and became an important research tool.

Organizers say cells grown from that tumor sample taken more than 60 years ago are still alive and have been used in medical advances ranging from the polio vaccine to cancer research and cloning. Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951 and remained virtually unknown, buried until recently in an unmarked grave.

The symposium entitled “The Dignity of Difference” features writer Harriet Washington, author of “Medical Apartheid.” The book examined the history of medical experimentation involving African-Americans.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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