Image source, Image caption, Henrietta Lacks, a tobacco farmer, was buried in an unmarked grave in Virginia in 1951
L World Health Organization (WHO) honored African American woman whose cells led to breakthroughs.
Henrietta Lacks died aged 31 in 1951 cervical cancer and samples of its cells were collected by doctors without his knowledge or that of his family.
They were the first human cells living organisms to multiply outside the human body.
They were used in research that led to the polio vaccine, genetic mapping and IVF treatment.
These advances andothers have enabled Henrietta Lacks to be called the "mother " of modern medicine.
"What happened to Henrietta was wrong, " WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday at a special ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Henrietta Lacks has been exploited. She is one of many women of color whose bodies have been abused by science.
" She trusted the health system so that she could receive treatment. But the system took something from him without his knowledge or consent "said Dr Tedros.
HeLa cells - a name derived from the first two letters of the given name and surname Henrietta Lacks - have also been used in the cervical cancer vaccinethe uterus, the very disease that killed the Lacks.
Receiving the award, Lawrence, Lacks' 87-year-old son, described his mother as a remarkable woman , who continued to help the world long after her death.
Lacks, a tobacco farmer from Virginia, was buried in a grave after her death at a racially segregated hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.