The family of Henrietta Lacks has reached a settlement with Waltham-based Thermo Fisher Scientific over allegations the biotech company improperly profited from cells stolen from their family member.

In 1951, doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital harvested cells from Lacks without her knowledge. Those became the first human cells to be cloned, and the so-called HeLa cells are now considered a crucial tool of biomedical research. While most cells die shortly after being removed from a person's body, Lacks' possessed a remarkable and infinite ability to reproduce in a laboratory setting. They've been used in the development of everything from in vitro fertilization to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Lacks died of cervical cancer later in 1951. Decades later, her story became the subject of a best-selling nonfiction book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," and a movie starring Oprah Winfrey.

The Lacks family sued Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2021, alleging the company stole her cells and made millions from mass producing them and selling a range of product lines derived from them to medical researchers and institutions.

The terms of the settlement are confidential. A written statement from Thermo Fisher Tuesday said, "the parties are pleased that they were able to find a way to resolve this matter outside of Court and will have no further comment."

The agreement was announced on what would have been Lacks' 103rd birthday.

"I can think of no better present on what would have been Henrietta Lacks' 103rd birthday than to give her family some measure of respect for Henrietta Lacks, some measure of dignity for Henrietta Lacks — and most of all, some measure of justice for Henrietta Lacks, 70 years later," said civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family. "What is very important to this family, what has always been important to this family, was that the family will get to define the legacy of their grandmother."

Thermo Fisher is not the only company selling HeLa cells, and attorney Chris Seeger, who is also representing the family, suggested at the Tuesday press conference announcing the settlement that more lawsuits are likely.

"While we celebrate today, I just want to say — as a little foreshadowing — stay tuned," he said. "The fight against those who profit, and chose to profit from the deeply unethical and unlawful history and origins of the HeLa cells will continue. ... Her cells live today. And those who choose to sell, mass produce, without their permission or consent, without compensation to the family, we'll see them in court."

Several members of the Lacks family were at Tuesday's announcement, including her grandson Alfred Carter.

"Today is a day that will go down in history," Carter said. "It couldn't [have] been a more fitting day for her to have justice, for her family to have relief."