In 1951, Lacks died of cervical cancer at John Hopkins Hospital. Unbeknownst to her, the cells from her biopsy were made available to biological researchers and had the unique ability to be kept alive and grow. To this day, her cell line, known as HeLA, is still growing and multiplying in laboratories across the world. Countless medical discoveries have been made because of it, including the vaccine for polio, AIDS research and cancer research (click on image above to see). Since her death, scientists have grown 20 tons of her cells–that’s 400x her original weight!