Bill and Melinda Gates make the case for investment in global development and vaccines
Bill and Melinda Gates released their traditional annual public letter, styled as a report to Warren Buffett.
By Melvin Sanicas

Bill and Melinda Gates released their annual letter, styled as a report to Warren Buffett on his investment of over $30 billion in their work. Bill and Melinda emphasize the value of global development and stress the importance of vaccines — which they call one of the best deals in global health.

5 mind-blowing facts about Henrietta Lacks, the black woman whose cells were stolen for science.

They can be grown indefinitely or frozen for decades. Her cell line, called HeLa, was the first immortal cell line to grow in a lab.

They were used to test the polio vaccine. And they were the first cells to be cloned. They helped develop drugs to treat leukemia and Parkinson’s disease and so much more.

Her cells were sent to space to see what would happen to human tissue in zero gravity.

That’s because they were taken from her without her consent. She died of cervical cancer at 31 years old in 1951. Before her death, cancer cells were taken from her tumor.

A book by Rebecca Skloot “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is now being turned into a movie. Oprah plays Henrietta’s daughter Deborah.

Is Henrietta Lacks finally getting the recognition she deserves?


Why Vaccines Work

Henrietta Lacks

Though she died of cervical cancer in 1951, her cells were discovered to have unique properties. These immortal “HeLa” cells were instrumental in developing the polio vaccine as well as other key scientific landmarks including cloning, gene mapping, and in vitro fertilization. Yet, her story has raised controversial questions about the ethics surrounding privacy & patient consent. Who was this unrecognized woman?

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Countdown to Zero Closes Monday, May 29

Find out about vital efforts to reduce and eliminate polio, malaria, and other devastating diseases. Free for Members or with Museum admission.


Ghanaian teenagers who contracted polio and lost their walking ability, play soccer in Tudu district of Accra, Ghana. Teenagers who maintain their lives by begging for money on the traffic roads in Ghana, gather to play soccer with their skateboards every sunday. Poliomyelitis is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system and spinal cord. Children younger than 5 years old are more likely to contract the virus than any other group and it is still endemic, along with West and Central Africa.