The family of Henrietta Lacks—a Black woman whose \u0022immortal\u0022 cells were taken without her consent or knowledge 70 years ago—on Monday sued a pharmaceutical company over its \u0022unjust enrichment\u0022 as a result of profits based on the stolen tissue that transformed modern medicine.\r\n\r\n\u0022This isn\u0026#039;t just about social justice. This is about genetic justice,” Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Lacks family, said at a press conference.\r\n\r\nThe filing in the U.S. district court in Baltimore accuses Thermo Fisher Scientific of \u0022making a conscious choice to sell and mass produce the living tissue of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman, grandmother, and community leader, despite the corporation\u0026#039;s knowledge that Ms. Lacks\u0026#039; tissue was taken from her without her consent by doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a racially unjust medical system.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0026nbsp;\u0022A human being—Henrietta\u0026nbsp; Lacks—is behind every cell, every sample sold by Thermo Fisher Scientific,\u0022 the filing states.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe cells were taken from a biopsy when Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951 for treatment for cervical cancer. Because of the cells\u0026#039; unique ability to live on and even reproduce in laboratory settings after 24 hours, hers \u0022were the first known immortalized human cell line,\u0022 which then became known as the HeLa cell line, as the lawsuit explains.\r\n\r\nNine months after that tissue was taken, Lacks died of cervical cancer at the age of 31. It wasn\u0026#039;t until decades later that her family learned of the sample taken.\r\n\r\n\u0022The HeLa cell line is one of the most important and widely used cell lines in human history,\u0022 the filing states, pointing to the cell line\u0026#039;s role in innovations including the polio vaccine and in vitro fertilization.\r\n\r\nThe family estate\u0026#039;s lawyers also said \u0022Thermo Fisher Scientific has made staggering profits by using the HeLa cell line—all while Ms. Lacks Estate and family haven\u0026#039;t seen a dime,\u0022 pointing to 2020 alone when the company \u0022recorded $32.22 billion in revenue.\u0022\r\n\r\nWhile Henrietta Lacks\u0026#039; role in the cell line was obfuscated for years, thanks in part to a best-selling book and film based on it, \u0022there is a widespread consensus today that the theft of Ms. Lacks’ cells was profoundly unethical and wrong,\u0022 according to the lawsuit.