Oct. 24, 2012 | Medical ethics. Health care access. Privacy issues. Scientific research. The story of Henrietta Lacks has it all. The one thing it doesn’t have is her consent. Born in Virginia in 1920, Lacks was only 31 years old when cervical cancer claimed her life. Although she has been dead for more than 60 years, her “immortal” cells have influenced — and continue to influence — research and major medical breakthroughs in ways no one could have predicted.