MSM Tackles Cervical Cancer at Annual HeLa Women’s Health Conference


Morehouse School of Medicine's (MSM)  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology hosted the 19th Annual HeLa Women’s Health Conference Fri., Sept. 19, 2014.  This year’s conference entitled “Personalized Medicine: Toward the Eradication of Cervical Cancer” generated the attendance of health professionals from around the country and students of all ages interested in learning relevant practices that specifically address cervical cancer. 


The daylong conference included nine dynamic presentations from specialists who facilitated discussion about identifying newly updated developments in application of personalized medicine through targeted chemotherapy; assessing the availability of DNA and Genome Profiles in targeted personalized therapy approaches; defining the area of personalized and targeted chemotherapy in cancer; and listing the results of chemotherapy testing and their successful outcomes in treating cancer, genetic defects, and neurogenerative diseases.


MSM’s Roland Pattillo, M.D., professor emeritus, department of obstetrics and gynecology, founded the HeLa Conference in October 1996.  It is named in honor of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who died at the age of 31 in 1951 from cervical cancer and was the source of HeLa cells--known as the first breakthrough in growing human cells outside the body.  Some of Lacks’ family members also attended the event.  Over the years, Dr. Pattillo has been instrumental in bringing influential and renowned physicians, scientists, and researchers to MSM for the conferences.


The HeLa Conference has brought prominent international attention to Mrs. Lacks’ story and the advancement her cells have contributed to cancer research.  The uniqueness of her case also prompted Rebecca Skloot to write the book “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” in 2010 and many others to cover this phenomenon in media and publications.


MSM will celebrate the 20th HeLa Conference on Sept. 18, 2015.  For more information, contact Charlotte Saulsberry, conference coordinator, at or 404-616-9292.


Click here to view images of the 2014 event.