Essay On Henrietta Lacks

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Cells Stolen and Profit Made The life of Henrietta Lacks is a tragedy. Mrs. Lacks story began with her at John Hopkin’s hospital. She’s there to find the source of her pain. She thought it was possibly from an STD because her husband slept around a lot (Shmoop). After being examined, she found out it was a knot on her womb. That was not the only problem with her body. After preforming a self-examination, she discovered that there was a lump on her cervix (Skloot). She went to her doctor, Howard Jones, who to took a biopsy of the lump (Skoolt). For the time being he sent Mrs. Lacks home. She found out it was cancer. Even after undergoing multiple procedures to reduce the tumor, Mrs. Lacks died. A doctor at Johns Hopkins took a piece of her…show more content…
“Before HeLa cells, scientists spent more time trying to keep cells alive than performing actual research on the cells. An endless supply of HeLa cells freed up time for discovery” (Five). With time to do intense research, scientist discovers vaccines for different diseases. “In 1952, the worst year of the polio epidemic, HeLa cells were used to test the vaccine that protected millions” (Five). Without the usage of her cells, millions of people would be dead today. In 1952, the polio epidemic claimed the lives of 3,145 people; 1,873 of which were children. With the death toll numbers, only being in the thousands, many would be thankful for use of her…show more content…
Later, scientists used this technique to determine that humans have 46 chromosomes—23 pairs—not 48, which provided the basis for making several types of genetic diagnoses” (Five). After knowing the number of chromosomes, they could see what genes you inherited. It also can help with DNA test. DNA tests just see if the genes match the parents. For example, the mom gives 23 chromosomes and the dad gives 23 chromosomes. If the chromosomes match the child, then more than likely the child will be theirs. So, that could have been a possible helpful discovery. “It was discovered that Lacks 's cancerous cells used an enzyme called telomerase to repair their DNA, allowing them, and other types of cancer cells, to function when normal cells would have died. Anti-cancer drugs that work against this enzyme are currently in early clinical trials”
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