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The Henrietta Lacks Estate Sues Biotech Company, Claims They're Profiting Off Stolen HeLa Cells

The estate of Henrietta Lacks is filing a lawsuit against a biotech company that, they claim, is using stolen HeLa cells without the permission of the estate. According to HuffPost, the Lacks estate is claiming that Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., of Waltham, MA, is profiting commercially off of the HeLa cells, and they’ve done so well after the origin of the cells became well-known. “It is outrageous that this company would think that they have intellectual rights property to their grandmother’s cells,” said Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys for the Henrietta Lacks estate, at a press conference on Oct. 4. “Why is it they have intellectual rights to her cells and can benefit billions of dollars when her family, her flesh and blood, her Black children, get nothing?” Lacks was first brought to the attention of the world thanks to the book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” which was subsequently made into a movie starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne. According to the book,...

CEO Tesla La Touche Leads The First Female-Focused Company In The Psychedelic Medicine Space

The psychedelic medicine industry is expanding rapidly, with areas like Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, Massachusetts decriminalizing magic mushrooms in recent elections. This Black woman-led biotech company recently launched to show how psychedelic medicines can be used for women’s health. Aphrodite Health — a woman-focused biotech company — is introducing psychedelic medicines to address women’s mental and physical health challenges often overlooked by modern medicine. The startup launched on May 31 and is led by CEO Tesla La Touche, a Black woman healthcare professional with 20 years of experience. La Touche is clinically published and brings a wealth of experience in the surgical, biopharmaceutical and advanced, clinical technologies sector to her team. S he was confident in her work as she was launching Aphrodite Health. Still, she takes a lot of pride coming into this space as the first Afro-Indigenous CEO in the psychedelic medicine industry. “I have very intimate knowledge...

Aug 5, 2021

How Dr. Arabia Mollette Aims To Change Lives Inside And Outside The Operating Room

When Dr. Arabia Mollette was five-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a doctor — she just wasn’t sure what type of doctor she wanted to be. But then, life threw the Bronx native some curveballs. “Growing up in the Bronx, I was surrounded by trauma and tragedy, ” she told AfroTech. “When I was 17-years-old, I became a teen mom — then I lost my baby boy at just four months. Then, just six years later, my sister was killed in a shooting. Those sorts of things change you, for certain, but they also gave me my life purpose.” As a part of her purpose, Dr. Mollette became an Emergency Medicine Resident Physician at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She practices and teaches in New York City and in various countries in the Caribbean and Africa. She also travels the world delivering keynote speeches with timely messages. These days, thanks to the pandemic — which landed Dr. Arabia Mollette on the front page of the New York Daily News wearing her scrubs and a concerned look on her face —...

Meet Aletha Maybank, the Pediatrician Changing the Face of Medicine Through Disney's 'Doc McStuffins'

We all know the importance of on-screen representation in media and entertainment, but most of all we know that representation is crucial to kids growing up in this ever-changing world. Content from shows that children consume on a daily basis are extremely influential on their upbringing and how they see the world. Disney is a network that takes heed to this notion, which is why we’ve seen it rollout a slate of positive and informative television series with characters who have become role models for kids — just like “Doc McStuffins.” According to MSNBC, after Disney Junior launched “Doc McStuffins” — an animated series about a young girl who aspires to be a doctor like her mom — it quickly became cable TV’s top-rated preschool series and the spark responsible for starting a social movement about diversity and inclusion in medicine. For one local physician, the work of this social movement didn’t just start and stop at what was being displayed on-screen, she knew it needed to...

Mar 26, 2021

This Black ER Doctor Sat Down With GQ to Explain Film Injuries and Millions Tuned in

Who doesn’t enjoy a good action or horror movie every now and then? The thrill of watching your favorite actress stab the villain through the abdomen or that crazy scene where the good guy fights their way out of the coffin they’ve been buried alive may be entertaining. However, there are many questions left unanswered about the physical injuries that an actor would have in real life. Dr. Italo Brown, M.D., M.P.H., sat down with GQ’s “The Breakdown” to give us a physician’s perspective on what possible medical injuries Hollywood actors and actresses could face if the movie scenes were real. Sacramento native, Dr. Brown is an emergency medicine physician and currently completing a fellowship at the Stanford Department of Emergency Medicine. His GQ installment went viral and gained 3 million views and counting. In the GQ episode, Dr. Brown breaks down scenes from Jordan Peele’s horror film “Us,” “Kill Bill Vol. 2,” and more. For the movie “Us,” Dr. Brown explains how the stab wound to...

Mar 13, 2020