Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act, Backed by Maryland Lawmakers, Is Signed By President Trump

January 5, 2021
In The News

President Donald Trump signed a bill Tuesday inspired by the late Henrietta Lacks, a Baltimore County woman whose cells were used for medical research without her consent. The Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act requires the federal government to publish a report on government-funded cancer research trials, including the amount of participation by underrepresented populations and describing the barriers to participation. The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approved the bill in December before it headed to Trump’s desk to be signed about two weeks before he leaves office. The late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, championed the bill before his death in 2019. Cummings was worried about the lack of participation by people of color in clinical trials for cancer research. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, who succeeded Cummings in the 7th District, took up the cause in the House. Maryland’s U.S. senators, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, supported it in the Senate. Other Maryland members of Congress, including Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Rep. John Sarbanes and Rep. David Trone, also supported the bill.