The Henrietta Lacks Society was launched by Year 12 Science students during science week, aiming to bring young minds together to discuss the most recent scientific advances, consider ethical implications and deliver presentations to inspire young minds to pursue scientific careers and contribute to future educational discoveries.

Henrietta Lacks was an African American woman who died, aged 31, of cervical cancer and samples of her cells were collected by doctors without her or her family’s knowledge. They were the first living human cells to multiply outside the human body. Her cells had been used in research that led to the polio vaccine, cancer research, and IVF treatment. However, by the time her contribution to science was officially recognised, samples of her cells had been sold commercially for decades. Students unanimously voted to name their society after Henrietta Lacks and felt that it fitted with our school ethos and Motto ‘ May all be one’, where we recognise and celebrate diversity and achievements of all. On 14th March, the first official meeting for the Henrietta Lacks Society took place. For the first half of the presentation, there was a presentation on xenotransplantation. Advantages and disadvantages were discussed, along with the ethical implications of such a procedure. For the second half of the session, a talk was given by our own school governor, Dr Lazarus, to the aspiring medics of the group. As a retired GP, Dr Lazarus was able to provide insightful information about the NHS constitution, factors involved in good patient care and applying for medicine. Using Biology A Level knowledge, all 14 aspiring medics were able to identify symptoms of various conditions, including heart damage following a heart attack.

We congratulate and thank our Year 12 students for taking initiative in establishing the society. We look forward to more inspiring meetings.