- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Henrietta Lacks

Born 1920-08-01
Died 1951-10-04

Related eponyms


Afro-American woman, born August 1. 1920; died October 4, 1951.

Biography of Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with a malignant carcinoma of the cervix at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore in 1951. The story of this amazingly robust and fast-growing cell-type began when George Gey (1899-1979), head of tissue culture research at Hopkins, took a samle before applying the first treatment to the patient. The celles were cultured without the permission og her family which was  not even informed and learned about the world-wide use of her cells years later.

HeLa cells played a vital role in the development of polio vaccine.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.


Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.