SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 50
(Senate - March 22, 2017)

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                         SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS

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  SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 11--RECOGNIZING THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF 
              HENRIETTA LACKS DURING WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH

  Mr. VAN HOLLEN (for himself and Mr. Cardin) submitted the following 
concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the 
Judiciary:

                            S. Con. Res. 11

       Whereas Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman born on 
     August 1, 1920, in Roanoke, Virginia, was raised by her 
     grandfather on a tobacco farm in Clover, Virginia;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks married David ``Day'' Lacks in 1941 
     in Halifax County, Virginia, and they later moved to the 
     Baltimore County, Maryland, community of Turner Station, to 
     build a life for themselves and their 5 children, Lawrence, 
     Elsie, David, Deborah, and Joseph (Zakariyya);
       Whereas, in 1951, Henrietta Lacks, at the age of 31, was 
     diagnosed with cervical cancer, and despite receiving painful 
     radium treatments, Henrietta Lacks passed away on October 4, 
     1951;
       Whereas medical researchers took samples of Henrietta 
     Lacks' tumor during her treatment and the HeLa cell line from 
     her tumor proved remarkably resilient;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks died 8 months after her cancer 
     diagnosis, leaving behind her children, husband, and 
     ``immortal cells'' that would change the world;
       Whereas HeLa cells were the first immortal line of human 
     cells, doubling every 24 hours, dividing and replenishing 
     indefinitely in a laboratory, and successfully growing 
     outside of the human body for longer than 36 hours;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks' cells are unique, grow by the 
     millions, and are commercialized and distributed worldwide to 
     researchers, resulting in advances in medicine;
       Whereas the advances made possible by Henrietta Lacks' 
     cells and the revenues the advances generated were not known 
     to her family for more than 20 years;
       Whereas an estimated 50,000,000 metric tons of HeLa cells 
     have been distributed around the world to become the subject 
     of more than 74,000 studies;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks' prolific cells continue to grow 
     and contribute to remarkable advances in medicine, including 
     the development of the polio vaccine, and drugs for treating 
     the effects of cancer, HIV/AIDS, hemophilia, leukemia, and 
     Parkinson's disease;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks' cells have been used in research 
     that has contributed to the understanding of the effects of 
     radiation and zero gravity on human cells;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks' immortal cells have informed 
     research on chromosomal conditions, cancer, gene mapping, and 
     precision medicine;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks' legacy has been recognized around 
     the world through memorials, conferences, museum exhibitions, 
     libraries, and print and visual media;
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks and her family's experience is 
     fundamental to modern bioethics policies and informed consent 
     laws that benefit patients nationwide by building patient 
     trust and protecting research participants;
       Whereas the family of Henrietta Lacks entered the 
     groundbreaking HeLa Genome Data Use Agreement in 2013 with 
     the medical, scientific, and bioethics communities, giving 
     the family a role in regulating HeLa genome sequences and 
     discoveries;
       Whereas Women's History Month is celebrated in March to pay 
     tribute to the many contributions women have made to the 
     United States; and
       Whereas Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells have made a 
     significant contribution to global health, scientific 
     research, quality of life, and patient rights: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives 
     concurring), That Congress, during Women's History month--
       (1) celebrates the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African-
     American woman who unknowingly changed the face of medical 
     science, contributing to lasting, worldwide improvements in 
     health;
       (2) honors Henrietta Lacks as a hero of modern medicine for 
     her contributions to the medical discoveries resulting from 
     her HeLa cells, which helped make possible some of the most 
     important medical advances of the last century; and
       (3) recognizes the legacy of Henrietta Lacks, which has 
     contributed to developments in bioethics and patient rights 
     that benefit all of the people of the United States.

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